April 24, 2018 / 5:10 AM / 3 months ago

China, Hong Kong stocks rally as Beijing vows to hit economic targets

* SSEC 2.1 pct, CSI300 2.1 pct, HSI 1.1 pct

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 8.9 pct, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 12.3 pct

* FTSE China A50 +2.5 pct, BNY Mellon ADR China Select Index +0.0 pct

SHANGHAI, April 24 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks rallied strongly on Tuesday, led by property and consumer companies, as the Communist Party declared its determination to achieve this year’s economic targets in the face of global trade tensions.

The CSI300 index rose 2.1 percent, to 3,846.77 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.1 percent, to 3,131.52 points. Both indexes were set for their best day in two months.

The real estate and consumer sectors rose 3.9 percent and 3.1 percent respectively, leading an across-the-board rally.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 1.1 percent, to 30,578.79 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.9 percent, to 12,222.50.

State media reported the Communist Party’s politburo, its top decision-making body, reiterated pledges to open up the economy and deepen the reform of state-owned firms and assets.

“As China’s government has vowed to increase domestic demand and maintain healthy development of the credit, equity, bond, forex and property markets, Chinese investors who expected an economic downturn caused by policy tightening could start to revise up their forecasts,” Gao Ting, Head of China Strategy at UBS Securities, said in a report.

“Despite loose liquidity conditions, with risk appetite still subdued by ongoing trade conflicts, investors may take a more balanced approach, meaning cyclical, consumer and financial stocks will likely outperform growth stocks,” Gao added.

Concerns lingered that China’s economic outlook could be clouded by escalating trade tensions between the world’s two economic superpowers.

Worries that Chinese authorities might defer a heavily promoted crackdown on excessive debt were boosted last Tuesday when China’s central bank unexpectedly reduced the amount of cash that banks must keep in reserves.

Then on Thursday, China’s state planner said it aims to cut commercial and industrial electricity prices by an average of 10 percent, a move that aligns with a years-long effort to reduce corporate costs, though the size and timing of the cut again surprised financial markets.

“We see little chance of a full-blown trade war between China and the United States, though China’s net exports may be impacted as the country’s key sectors could be hit by trade frictions for the short term,” Li Xunlei, analyst with Zhongtai Securities, wrote in a note.

“Thus boosting domestic demand is an inevitable choice to maintain steady and fast economic growth for China,” Li added.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.12 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 0.71 percent.

The yuan was quoted at 6.313 per U.S. dollar, 0.06 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.3165.

Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch Editing by Eric Meijer

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