China H-shares hit 3-week high after solid trade data
* HSI +1.1 pct, H-shares +1.5 pct, CSI300 flat
* China trade data trumps expectations, more macro data ahead
* China property leads cyclical gains in HK, A-shares sluggish
* Mengniu surges after Danone increases stake
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong hit their highest level in nearly three weeks on Wednesday, outperforming mainland markets, after robust China trade data alleviated some fears about growth in the world's second-largest economy.
China exports jumped 10.6 percent in January from a year earlier, while exports rose 10 percent, beating expectations for a 2 and 3 percent rise, respectively.
But some analysts who had expected the Lunar New Year holiday to drag on the month's trade flows cautioned that the data may have been inflated by fake transactions, where traders forge deals so as to sneak cash into the country past capital controls.
More data is due later this week, with inflation on Friday and money supply and loan growth due by Saturday.
At midday, the Hang Seng Index was up 1.1 percent at 2,2202.01 points. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 1.5 percent to its highest since Jan. 24 and has now recovered more than 5 percent from a Feb. 5 low.
The CSI300 of the biggest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-shares was flat, while the Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.1 percent. Both are hovering at their highest since the start of the year after a rally of more than 3 percent in the last three sessions.
"The trade data is positive, we have been seeing people picking up battered counters in the last few days across the sectors. It's the Chinese property sector today," said Linus Yip, a strategist with First Shanghai Securities.
China Overseas Land (COLI) jumped 5.8 percent after posting HK$15.24 billion ($1.96 billion) in contracted sales for January. Deutsche Bank analysts said this was a strong start to the year, making its valuation "very attractive".
The official Shanghai Securities News reported on Wednesday that combined land sales revenue in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen jumped 140 percent in January, citing data from property research firm CRIC.
Gains on the day helped COLI erase losses on the year after sliding more than 5 percent in 2013. It is now trading at 7 times forward 12 month earnings, a 45 percent discount to its historical median, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Other Chinese property names listed in Hong Kong also outperformed the broader market. China Resources Land and Shimao Property spiked more than 4.5 percent, while Country Garden jumped 4.9 percent.
Those listed in the mainland remained sluggish, however, tracking the A-share market.
China Vanke slipped 0.1 percent in Shenzhen, while Poly Real Estate shed 0.3 percent in Shanghai.
China Mengniu Dairy jumped 2.2 percent after France's Danone agreed to invest $665 million to more than double its effective interest in one of the country's leading dairy producers.