China stocks end lower; bleak data raises stimulus hopes


SHANGHAI: China stocks started the week on a soft note, though losses were limited on easing Sino-U.S. trade frictions, while bleak economic data on Monday raised hopes that Beijing will dole out more stimulus to underpin the economy.

The blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 0.4% at 3,957.72, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed flat at 3,030.75.

The slowdown in the factory and consumer sectors deepened in August, with industrial production growing at the weakest pace in 17-1/2 years, a sign of increasing weakness in an economy lashed by trade headwinds and soft domestic demand.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in an interview published ahead of the data on Monday it would be "very difficult" for the economy to continue growing at 6% or more and that it faced "downward pressure".

Analysts say they expect the latest data to lead to more cuts in key lending rates from Chinese authorities.

Investors also parsed through latest news and comments for signs of easing in the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he preferred a comprehensive trade deal with China, but did not rule out the possibility of an interim pact, even as he said an "easy" agreement would not be possible.

Trump's remarks came after China and the United States made conciliatory gestures as the two sides prepare for new rounds of talks, including China's purchases of U.S. soybeans.

The U.S. Agriculture Department confirmed on Friday that private exporters bought 204,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans destined for China.

Energy firms on Monday outperformed following a surge in oil prices. The CSI300 energy index ended up 1.9%.

Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.33%.

At 0716 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.0723 per U.S. dollar, 0.09% firmer than the previous close of 7.0788.

As of 0717 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 28.98% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. - Reuters


   

Across The Star Online


Air Pollutant Index

Highest API Readings

    Select State and Location to view the latest API reading

    Source: Department of Environment, Malaysia