* HSI, H-shares +0.8 pct; CSI300 -0.2 pct, Shanghai Comp
* Trade data showed unexpected China deficit in March
* China brokers A-shares hurt by reported IPO fraud
* Moutai jumps after news reports on changed standards
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, April 10 Hong Kong shares rose in
anemic turnover on Wednesday with mainland China markets
sluggish after data showed the world's second-largest economy
unexpectedly had a trade deficit in March.
China posted a $884 million trade deficit in March as a
forecast-busting 14.1 percent surge in imports from a year
earlier eclipsed export growth of 10 percent.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen
A-share listings slipped 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite
Index ended a choppy day flat as bourse volume sank for
a second day and was nearly 20 percent below average.
The Hang Seng Index gained 0.8 percent to extend a
rebound after Monday's close at the lowest level since
mid-November. The China Enterprises Index of the top
Chinese listings in Hong Kong also climbed 0.8 percent.
Gains in the territory came in turnover that was 14 percent
below its average in the past month. At $7.6 billion, that was
just about one-fifth of the $37 billion recorded in Tokyo,
giving further anecdotal evidence that funds were being
redirected to Japanese equities after the Bank of Japan's
"I haven't advised clients to catch Hong Kong's technical
bounce right now. Things can change very fast in this market and
the larger funds may not be able be to get out quick," said Hong
Hao, chief strategist at Bank of Communication International
The Hang Seng Index is now 8 percent off a Jan. 30 peak,
while the China Enterprises has tumbled 13 percent from a Feb. 1
high. The Shanghai Composite has lost 9 percent from a Feb. 6
high, while the CSI300 has slid 10 percent since Feb. 7.
"Japan is a factor, but people are still not coming back
into China equities after the pull back mainly because they are
still not seeing much signs of a more solid recovery in the
mainland," Hong added.
More Chinese economic data is coming. March money supply and
loan growth are due by April 15, while first quarter GDP growth
data is due on that date, along with industrial output, retail
sales and urban investment data for March.
Data on Tuesday had showed China's annual consumer inflation
cooled in March as food prices eased from nine-month highs and
producer price deflation deepened, leaving policymakers room to
keep monetary conditions easy and nurture a nascent recovery.
On Wednesday, growth-sensitive, mid-sized Chinese banking
counters were broadly weaker. China Minsheng Bank
sank 2.1 percent in Hong Kong and 0.6
percent in Shanghai.
Ratings agency Fitch cut China's long-term local currency
credit rating to A-plus from AA-minus on Tuesday with a stable
outlook, citing financial risks from rapid credit expansion
alongside the rise of shadow banking activity.
Chinese brokerages fell in the mainland after the official
China Securities Journal reported that regulators are likely to
bar an unidentified brokerage firm in southern China from
sponsoring initial public offerings for three months on
suspected fraud in an IPO projects.
In Shanghai, Southwest Securities fell 2.5
percent, while larger rival Citic Securities shed 1
percent and Haitong Securities slipped 0.5 percent.
Chinese insurers were outperformers, extending a rally after
posting impressive March premium numbers earlier this week.
China Pacific Insurance Corp (CPIC) spiked
6 percent, its best daily gain in Hong Kong since Jan. 2. In
Shanghai, the stock rose 1.4 percent.
Goldman Sachs said CPIC and Ping An Insurance
posted superlative premium growth in the
first quarter, which was driven by their focus on agency
Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco)
climbed 3.1 percent in Hong Kong and 5.6 percent in Shanghai
following upgrades by a notch to "hold" or "neutral" by Deutsche
Bank (DB) and Credit Suisse.
DB's global commodity team went long on aluminum and short
on copper in its quarterly report, forecasting the end of copper
supply scarcity and the re-rating of copper against aluminum.
China Overseas Land moved up 3.1 percent, leading
other Chinese developers higher after it said its total
contracted sales in the first quarter amounted to about 40
percent of its 2013 target after a 36 percent month-on-month
rise in March.
Chinese premium alcohol producers Kweichow Moutai
rose 3.9 percent in Shanghai, while Wuliangye
surged 4.6 percent in Shenzhen after local news
reports suggested plasticizer standards will soon be relaxed.
The sector has been hard hit by an anti-corruption focus of
the new China leadership and a contamination scare late last
year following reports that a maker of white spirits added more
plasticisers to its products than industrial standards allow.