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Shanghai shares close up 4.92pc on SOE shake-up speculation

Shanghai shares close up 4.92pc on SOE shake-up speculationSHANGHAI: Shanghai shares closed up 4.92 percent on Monday as speculation of a broad overhaul of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) trumped weak economic figures released over the weekend, dealers said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 184.22 points to 3,928.42 on turnover of 652.6 billion yuan ($ 106.7 billion).

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, jumped 4.49 percent, or 97.69 points, to 2,274.84 on turnover of 574.8 billion yuan.

China is planning to combine two major state-owned shipping companies — China Ocean Shipping Group, known as Cosco, and China Shipping Group — or merge some of their businesses, Bloomberg News reported Friday, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Several listed arms of the two giants halted trading in their shares on Monday in both Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as in Hong Kong, where some are also listed.

“State-owned enterprise mergers are an investment theme that’s quite certain and there are signs that the move will speed up,” Li Jingyuan, general manager at Shanghai Zhaoyi Asset Management, told Bloomberg on Monday.

“Foreign investors pay more attention to economic data and fundamentals, while local investors are more sensitive to policies,” Li said.

The merger speculation, which Bloomberg said comes as part of a broader overhaul of inefficient state-run companies designed to bolster growth, outshone weak economic data released over the weekend.

China’s foreign trade performance worsened in July with both exports and imports falling more than eight percent on an annual basis, customs said on Saturday.

Consumer inflation accelerated slightly to 1.6 percent in July, compared to 1.4 percent in June, official data showed on Sunday, although analysts warned the slow rise in prices is still a risk for China’s economy.

“Though the economy as a whole is not performing quite well, it may lead to more loosening of monetary policy,” Zhang Qi, an analyst from Haitong Securities, told AFP.

“There might also be more state investment and reform of state-owned enterprises.”

Securities firms led the gains in Shanghai. Citic Securities surged by its 10 percent daily limit to 22.31 yuan while China Merchant Securities jumped 6.28 percent to 22.50 yuan.

Railway firms were also higher. In Shanghai, China Railway Construction soared 9.49 percent to 18.34 yuan while China Railway Erju also climbed 8.31 percent to 17.07 yuan.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

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