April 17, 2019 / 7:33 AM / 8 days ago

Shanghai stocks close at 13-month high on upbeat GDP data

* SSEC +0.3 pct, CSI300 flat

* FTSE China A50 -0.3 pct, BNY Mellon ADR China Select Index flat

* China’s Q1 growth unexpectedly steadies, but too early to call it a recovery

SHANGHAI, April 17 (Reuters) - Shanghai stocks rose to a 13-month closing high on Wednesday, as surprisingly firm data pointed to a recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 4,087.24, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.3 percent higher at 3,263.12, its highest close since March 21, 2018. The Shanghai index had gained 2.4 percent on Tuesday.

** China’s economy grew at a steady 6.4 percent pace in the first quarter, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.

** But analysts warn it is too early to call a sustainable turnaround in China, and further policy support is needed to maintain momentum in the world’s second-largest economy. Many had expected a recovery only in the second half of 2019.

** China’s economy still faces downward pressure, while policy steps to support the economy are starting to bear fruit, the statistics bureau said.

** “We believe there is still downward economic pressure in the second quarter, though the stock market will selectively reflect upbeat factors amid ‘bullish sentiment’, as the gains for now are more driven by expectations of economic recovery than by actual data confirming improvement,” CITIC Securities said in report.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.14 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.25 percent.

** At 07:10 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.6914 per U.S. dollar, 0.32 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.7128.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 30.8 percent and the CSI300 index has risen 35.8 percent, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 17 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 5.58 percent this month.

** About 35.75 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 87.7 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 40.77 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 35.79 billion.

** As of 07:10 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 26.84 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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