SHANGHAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Shanghai stocks ended lower on Wednesday, as hopes of a quick initial trade deal were dented following U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks, but a series of recent upbeat data and surveys pointing to pick-ups in the Chinese economy helped check losses.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,849.82, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.2% at 2,878.12.
** U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments that a trade deal with China might have to wait until late 2020 raised fresh doubts on when the dispute might end, while a U.S. House bill targeting camps for Muslims in Xinjiang drew Beijing’s ire.
** Several sources familiar with Beijing’s stance told Reuters that escalation of tensions triggered by the Xinjiang bill could jeopardize the so-called “phase one” deal already fraught with disagreements and complications.
** With a new round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled to take effect in less than two weeks, the possibility of another breakdown is growing.
** But losses were checked by recent upbeat data. Activity in China’s services sector accelerated to a seven-month high in November, as new business, especially new export business, picked up, a private survey showed on Wednesday.
** That came after official data showed factory activity in China unexpectedly returned to growth in November for the first time in seven months, as domestic demand picked up on Beijing’s accelerated stimulus measures to steady growth.
** There were also hopes of more stimulus to boost the country’s domestic consumption.
** China’s finance ministry published a draft law on consumption taxes on Tuesday that would give China’s cabinet the power to adjust the rates applied to various goods when necessary.
** Bucking the broad weakness, the CSI300 consumer discretionary index was up 1%.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.84%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.05%.
** At 0720 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.0682 per U.S. dollar, 0.1% weaker than the previous close of 7.061.
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 15.4% and the CSI300 has risen 27.9%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 1.4%. Shanghai stocks have risen 0.21% this month.
** As of 0721 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.56% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)