Hong Kong shares edge up on Fed relief, power sector lifts China

Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:47am EDT

* HSI +0.3 pct, H-shares +0.3 pct, CSI300 flat

* Chinese power sector helped by report on reform plan

* Hong Kong property rebounds as interest rate rise seems delayed

* BOC extends losses; it denies state TV report on money laundering (Updates to midday)

By Grace Li

HONG KONG, July 10 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose on Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated it was in no rush to end quantitative easing and begin raising U.S. interest rates, although gains were trimmed after Chinese export data came in weaker than expected.

Chinese shares eked out slim gains in choppy trade, led by power producers after media reported that a draft plan for electric power system reforms had been finished.

Exports in China grew 7.2 percent in June from a year earlier, less than the 10.6 percent forecast in a Reuters poll, offering no conclusive evidence yet on whether the economy can stabilise without additional government stimulus measures.

By midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was flat, while the Shanghai Composite Index had inched up 0.2 percent to 2,042.92.

The Hang Seng Index was up 0.3 percent at 23,239.86, and the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose by the same amount. Both had fallen 1.6 percent on Wednesday.

"The Fed continues to adopt accommodative policies that helped the U.S. market rebound. Worry about an interest rate hike has eased in the short term, which helped the index rebound today," said Castor Pang, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi in Hong Kong.

According to minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting released on Wednesday, the central bank acknowledged the recent strengthening in the U.S. economy but suggested it was unlikely to raise policy rates until the second half of 2015.

Property developers in Hong Kong were buoyed by the news. Cheung Kong Holdings gained 1.4 percent and Sino Land 1.1 percent.

Low global interest rates are a key support for their share prices and property prices in the territory.

Their mainland peers also outperformed as more cities have started to ease restrictions on house purchases and prices. China Vanke climbed 1.8 percent.

Bank of China shed 1.2 percent in Hong Kong and 0.4 percent in Shanghai. Late on Wednesday, the country's fourth-largest lender denied a TV report alleging some branches had helped clients launder money to take out of China, saying these branches were involved in a legitimate programme to move capital offshore.

Chinese power producers posted solid gains after a Shanghai Securities News report said a draft on electric power system reforms had been completed. Datang Power and Huaneng Power rose 3.1 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group lost 3.9 percent in Hong Kong after sales declined in the period from April to June. (Editing by Alan Raybould)

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