China stocks edge lower on growth risk warnings

HONG KONG, April 15 () - Chinese equities ended lower on Monday due to worries about slowing local and global economic growth, shedding earlier gains on the back of stronger bank lending and optimism in U.S.-China trade talks.

** At close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.3 percent at 3,177.79 points. The blue-chip CSI300 index was also down 0.3 percent.

** CSI300's financial sector sub-index was flat, the consumer staples sector down 0.5 percent, and real estate shares lost 0.9 percent.

** China's imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a sharper pace, customs data showed on Friday. Exports rebounded but the rise was partly driven by seasonal factors, said analysts.

** China's first-quarter economy growth likely cooled to the weakest pace in at least 27 years, a poll showed.

** China's new bank loans rebounded in March, rising far more than analysts anticipated, as policymakers pushed lenders to support struggling smaller companies and boost sluggish economic growth.

** While the expansion in lending "may encourage the market in the short term, but that data is backward looking. It (the lending) has already happened, so there can't be sustained support for share prices," said Cao Xuefeng, a Chengdu-based analyst at Huaxi Securities.

** "The bottom line is that the stars remain aligned for the CSI 300 with sentiment, earnings revision and monetary conditions all reversing," Jefferies' analysts, who said they are moderately bullish on the blue-chips, said in a memo on Monday.

** Two sources briefed on discussions on Sino-U.S. trade talks told that Washington tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal after strong resistance from Beijing.

** U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he is hopeful Beijing and Washington are "getting close to the final round of concluding issues," and that the two sides will continue the talks via phone this week.

** Central banks and fiscal authorities have limited policy options to drive a rebound in global growth, finance officials at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting said on Saturday.

** "The market can react quite negatively" to the absence of a U.S.-China deal, and any such agreement must address structural factors like intellectual property, Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific department, said on Friday.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 27.4 percent and the CSI300 has risen 32 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 2.8 percent this month.

** About 34.88 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 28.98 billion.

** As of 0705 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 25.14 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

** The Shanghai stock index is above its 50-day moving average and above its 200-day moving average.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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