* SSEC +0.5%, CSI300 +0.4%, HSI -1.2%
* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 1.5%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 1.8%
* FTSE China A50 +0.0%
SHANGHAI, Sept 19 (Reuters) - China stocks closed higher on Thursday, on rising investor bets Beijing will lower a key domestic rate to help bolster the economy following a U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.4%, to 3,924.38, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5% to 2,999.28 points.
** The Fed cut interest rates again on Wednesday to help sustain a record-long economic expansion but signalled a higher bar to further reductions in borrowing costs.
** Market participants are now watching closely if and to what extent China would lower its new lending reference rate on Friday following the Fed’s move.
** Analysts believe the Fed’s rate cuts and the easing by the European central bank allow China more leeway for further monetary easing.
** China trimmed the revamped Loan Prime Rate (LPR) on Aug. 20, as the central bank kicked off interest rate reforms designed to reduce corporate borrowing costs in the world’s second-largest economy.
** “China is rather likely to further lower the LPR tomorrow, but it’s hard for now to predict the exact basis points of the cut,” Shen Xinfeng, an analyst with Northeast Securities said.
** There are still some restrictions for China’s interest rate changes due to relatively high inflationary pressure this year, especially from soaring pork prices, Shen added.
** Wang Yifeng, an analyst with Everbright Securities, expected a gradual and phased path of cuts, saying the LPR would be lowered on Friday by 5-10 basis points, with a further cut of 5-10 basis points in November.
** Tech firms, seen among the biggest beneficiaries of lower funding costs, led the gains on Thursday. The tech-heavy start-up board ChiNextP closed 1.6% higher.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.58%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.38%.
** At 0716 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.1042 per U.S. dollar, 0.24% weaker than the previous close of 7.087.
** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Shanghai Feilo Acoustics Co Ltd , up 10.12%, followed by CSD Water Service Co Ltd , gaining 10.04% and Ningbo Tianlong Electronics Co Ltd, up by 10.04%.
** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Zhejiang Guangsha Co Ltd down 7.69%, followed by Jiangsu Shemar Electric Co Ltd losing 7.38% and Shanghai Environment Group Co Ltd down by 5.77%.
** As of 0716 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.70% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch Editing by Jacqueline Wong)