Hong Kong shares seen higher on steady 2013 China policy

HONG KONG Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:15pm EST

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HONG KONG Dec 17 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start the week higher on Monday after China pledged steady economic polices in 2013, leaving room for manoeuvre in the face of global risks while deepening reforms to support long-term growth.

The official Xinhua news agency said Beijing would maintain property controls, including restrictions on how many homes individuals can buy, to ward off potential risks and will make greater efforts to improve the quality of urbanisation to help bolster domestic demand.

On Friday, the Hang Seng Index closed up 0.7 percent at 22,606 points, its highest since Aug. 1, 2011. But stiff chart resistance looms at around 22,800, shown by peaks in July and August 2011.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.4 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.2 percent at 0051 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Li Ning Co Ltd, China's best-known sportswear firm, warned on Monday it will post a substantial loss for 2012 as it plans to book a charge of up to $288 million to revamp its sales channels.

* Trading in AIA Group shares was suspended on Monday, the company said in an exchange filing. American International Group said it has commenced a sale in Hong Kong of up to all of its ordinary shares of AIA Group by means of a placing to certain institutional investors.

* Chinese state-owned insurer PICC Group has exercised the over-allotment option of its recent Hong Kong share sale, lifting the total proceeds of the float to $3.6 billion.

* Hutchison Whampoa's managing director flew into Vienna on Friday to fight for his company's 1.3 billion euro ($1.7 billion) takeover of Orange Austria, held up for almost a year by regulatory wrangling.

* China's foreign exchange regulator has removed the $1 billion limit for foreign sovereign wealth funds, central banks and monetary authorities buying Chinese assets through the Qualified Institutional Investor Programme (QFII).

* China's securities regulator is discussing measures to reduce the requirements needed for mainland Chinese firms to list in Hong Kong, in part to relieve the pent-up demand for domestic listings, the official China Securities Journal reported on Monday quoting sources.

* China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) has priced its initial public offering in Hong Kong at the top end of its marketed range, raising about $500 million, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

* The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) stepped into the currency market on Friday, selling HK$3.1 billion ($400 million) in Hong Kong dollars as the domestic currency repeatedly hit the strong end of its trading range.

* Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said its freight traffic rose for the third consecutive month in November, up 6.3 percent year on year, driven by significant shipments of hi-tech consumer products out of key manufacturing centres.

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