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Hong Kong stock market hits highest close since August last year

Hong Kong stock market hits highest close since August last year
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Hong Kong stock market on Wednesday hit its highest close since August last year, tracking the rally in Mainland Chinese shares, after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that trade truce with China could be extended. The Hang Seng index ended 1.2 percent firmer at 28,497.59 points, its highest closing level since Aug. 9, 2018, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index closed 1.4 percent higher.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares ended up 2.3 percent, while the IT sector closed 0.1 percent lower, the financial sector ended 1.4 percent higher and the property sector rose 0.9 percent. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he could let the March 1 deadline for a trade agreement with China "slide for a little while", hinting at a possible delay for the first time. Trump's advisers have previously described March 1 as a "hard deadline", after which U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China will rise to 25 percent from 10 percent, if the two sides cannot reach a deal. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks with Chinese officials.

Discussions among deputy-level officials to work out technical details, including a mechanism for enforcing any trade agreement, started on Monday. Shares of IT hardware makers, which suffered last year as the trade war escalated, rallied 3.7 percent on Wednesday. Shares in Mainland China moved up for a fourth straight session, with the Shanghai Composite Index and the blue-chip CSI300 index both making their largest percentage gains since early January. Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.6 percent, while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 1.3 percent.

The top gainers among H-shares were China Tower Corp Ltd , which ended 7 percent higher, followed by Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, which closed up 6.5 percent, and Air China Ltd, which gained 6.3 percent. About 1.99 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.54 billion. At close, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 17.97 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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