Oct 16 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks rose to near 10-year highs on Monday, joining a rally in Asian markets and boosted by a surprisingly rosy growth forecast for the world’s second-biggest economy.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent, to 28,692.80, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.7 percent, to 11,602.92 points.
The People’s Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the economy was expected to grow 7 percent in the second half of this year, accelerating from the first six months and defying widespread expectations for a slowdown.
Zhou’s growth forecast followed robust lending and inflation data for September and was more bullish than markets had expected. Most economists had seen some slowing starting in the fourth quarter.
UBS Securities China strategist Gao Ting warned of a “modest” economic slowdown in the next six months, citing investor sentiment.
Meanwhile, investors are keenly watching China’s Communist Party Congress that starts on Wednesday, where President Xi Jinping is expected to shape the country’s future direction for the next five years.
“When it comes to the Congress, we expect policy consistency. It would be concerning if that wasn’t the case.” Catherine Yeung, Investment Director, Fidelity International said in an emailed comment.
“One of the biggest risks could be around property which remains as an anchor for China’s economy.”
Most sectors rose, with property shares among the biggest gainers (Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)