HONG KONG Oct 15 Hong Kong shares look set to start lower on Monday ahead of the release of China's September inflation data later in the day that could give more clues to the state of the slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
The main focus this week is likely China's official quarterly GDP data on Thursday, which is likely to confirm that growth slowed to 7.4 percent year-on year in the third quarter.
Weekend data showed China's exports grew at roughly twice the rate expected in September, while a deputy central bank governor said China's fiscal and monetary stimulus would be appropriate to counter the country's economic slowdown.
Last Friday, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 percent to 21.136.4, closing at its highest level in more than five months and clocking its sixth-straight weekly gain. It rose 0.6 percent last week.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.2 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.5 percent at 0049 GMT, both weighed down by concerns about corporate earnings.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Chinese mobile phone and telecoms equipment maker ZTE Corp will report a loss of as much as 1.75 billion yuan ($279 million) in the first 9 months of 2012, it said in a preliminary results announcement on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sunday.
* China steelmaker Angang Steel Co Ltd said on Friday it could make a loss of RMB3.17 billion ($505 million) for the first nine months of the year.
* The chief executive and chairman of Sany Heavy Equipment International have resigned, the Chinese company said on Friday, as the construction industry grapples with a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
* Bosideng International Holdings, China's largest maker and distributor of down clothing, is eyeing store openings in Milan and New York if its first overseas venture in London proves a hit with British shoppers.
* China has expressed concerns about a potential EU investigation of telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE Corp < over illegal subsidies, a European Commission official said on Friday.
* Russian aluminium group RUSAL is looking for Chinese partners to build a smelter in Siberia with a design capacity of 800,000 tonnes per year.
* Sinopec Group, parent of Asia's largest refiner Sinopec Corp, will cut the volume of crude it processes by around 8.6 million barrels for the rest of the year on unexpected shutdowns at two refineries in South China, trade sources said on Friday.
* China has begun raising its stakes in major state-owned banks such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China , Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and China Construction Bank, seeking to boost investor confidence in a sector that has been weighed down by expectations of a spike in bad loans. (Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Richard Pullin)