HONG KONG, April 10 Hong Kong's finance minister said on Thursday it would take months to implement a cross-border stock investment scheme that could allow investors to buy mainland-listed stocks via the Hong Kong stock exchange and vice versa for Chinese bourses.
John Tsang was speaking after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at an investment forum on the southern island of Hainan that Beijing would promote a new round of opening up to the overseas market, which would include a Hong Kong-Shanghai stock investment scheme.
Trading in shares of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd was halted on Thursday morning.
HKEx said the suspension was pending a statement related to the possible establishment of "mutual market connectivity". It gave no further details.
Shares of HKEx, which jumped 9.9 percent last week when news of possible cross-border co-operation emerged, fell 1.1 percent on Thursday prior to the trading suspension. That compared with a 0.3 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index..
Last week, Hong Kong Exchanges said it was in talks to cooperate with mainland China stock exchanges although it added there was no guarantee any deal could be reached. (Reporting by Donny Kwok; and Michelle Chen; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree)