* CSI300 +1.5 pct; SSEC +1.6 pct; HSI + 0.9 pct;
* Fresh reform measures to benefit the economy - analyst
* Property stocks up on signs of industry recovery
SHANGHAI, Feb 13 (Reuters) - China stocks were headed for its fifth straight days of gains on Friday - their longest winning streak in two months - as fresh reform measures helped sustain sentiment in thin trade ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Hong Kong stocks also rose, taking their cue from buoyant global markets in the wake of a ceasefire accord in Ukraine and Sweden’s surprise move to cut its main rate into negative territory.
The CSI300 Index rose 1.5 percent in morning trading, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 1.6 percent. Hong shares also gained, with the Hang Seng Index up 0.9 percent.
The People’s Bank of China said on Thursday that firms and financial institutions in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone (FTZ) would be allowed to conduct overseas financing without government approvals, and the ceiling of their leverage ratios for these activities would also be raised.
The move is seen as another step towards financial liberalization, and would reduce financing costs of companies in the FTZ. The news boosted shares of Shanghai-based financial firms such as AJ Corp, which surged to the 10 percent limit.
Also, investor hopes of more consolidation in listed state-owned companies were fanned after the China Securities Journal reported that reform proposals by agricultural giant COFCO and investment holding firm State Development & Investment Corp (SDIC) received regulatory approval.
“Reforms inject vigour into the economy, and are good for the market, helping extend the rebound,” said Zhou Lin, strategist at Huatai Securities.
“Although investors are still looking for signs that the economy is bottoming out, the panic sentiment we saw last week is over.”
The rise on China’s bourses came after gains in Europe and Wall Street, with the pan-European stock index hitting a seven-year high and the S&P 500 coming within striking distance of a record high. The Nasdaq also hit a 15-year high.
But trading in mainland stocks has been trending lower, with the weekly trading volume in the CSI300 Index only about one third of the December peak, reflecting investor caution over the economy and the shutdown for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
Investors drew some comfort from industry surveys showing China’s property market, a key contributor to economic growth, could have bottomed and even started to rebound in January after eight months of decline.
Property stocks were broadly up on Friday on hopes that official data due on Tuesday will confirm the recovery trend.
New A-share account openings bit.ly/1wvJ9S9
China trading volumes hit records in 2014 link.reuters.com/vag73w (Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)