* CSI300 +1.4 pct; SSEC +1.4 pct; HSI +1.4 pct
* Yellen remarks improve risk appetite
* Oil majors rise on reform expectations
SHANGHAI, March 30 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks rose more than 1 percent on Wednesday, tracking global markets, as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s dovish remarks improved investor risk appetite.
Both China’s blue-chip CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4 percent by the lunch break, to 3,178.00 points and 2,961.83 points, respectively.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index added 1.4 percent, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index firmed 2.1 percent.
Markets scaled back expectations for how fast and far U.S. interest rates might rise this year, after Fed Chair Janet Yellen emphasised global dangers to growth and inflation, and thus the need to proceed “cautiously” on tightening policy.
“Many investors have been haunted by looming U.S. rate hikes, which is like a sword hanging over the head,” said Wu Kan, head of equity trading at investment firm Shanshan Finance.
“Yellen’s remarks gave investors some breathing space, and improved risk appetite.”
However, Wu doesn’t see big room for Chinese shares to rise further, as the economy remains fragile while market confidence hasn’t fully recovered.
On the economy front, the Asian Development Bank slashed its economic growth forecast for developing Asia this year, citing global headwinds and a weaker outlook for China.
Activity in China’s manufacturing sector likely shrank for an eight straight month in March, but at a slower pace than in February, economists polled by Reuters said.
Stocks rose across the board in China and Hong Kong.
The energy sector was among the biggest gainers, with index heavyweights including Sinopec and PetroChina rising sharply on expectations of pending reforms in the sector, traders said.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Jacqueline Wong