SHANGHAI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - China stocks ended flat on Thursday in lacklustre trading, as investors awaited more policy signals ahead of a key meeting of the ruling Communist Party next week.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 was unchanged at 3,870.67, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC was also flat at 2,940.92.
** China's ruling Communist Party will hold a key meeting of its senior leadership next week after an unusually long delay since the last one, state media said, as the country grapples with issues ranging from a slowing economy to unrest in Hong Kong.
** In the latest effort to ward off a sharper economic slowdown, China said on Wednesday it will implement new regulations that aim to make it easier to do business.
** Policy support is key to underpinning the A-share market in an earnings season when investors ponder over the implications of a bruising Sino-U.S. trade war.
** China's monetary policy easing is a general trend as the country's economy slows, though Beijing's leeway would be limited in the fourth quarter by increasing inflation pressure as the consumer price index (CPI) reached 3.0% in September, Zhang Qiyao, analyst with Guosheng Securities noted in report.
** Without risks that could lead to a systemic correction, or catalysts that point to a big rally, the market could remain basically rangebound in the fourth quarter, Zhang added.
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index .MIAPJ0000PUS was firmer by 0.42%, while Japan's Nikkei index .N225 closed up 0.55%.
** At 0714 GMT, the yuan CNY=CFXS was quoted at 7.0666 per U.S. dollar, nearly unchanged from the previous close of 7.0667.
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 17.9% and the CSI300 has risen 28.6%, while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 4%. Shanghai stocks have risen 1.23% this month.
** About 12.65 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 72.1% of the market's 30-day moving average of 17.56 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 12.38 billion.
** As of 0715 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 28.87% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
(Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
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