* CSI300 +0.4 pct; SSEC +0.2 pct; HSI +0.2 pct;
* Ugly economic data reinforces expectations of monetary easing
* SAIC announcement fans hopes of acceleration in SOE reforms
SHANGHAI, Feb 16 (Reuters) - China stocks are heading for their sixth straight session of gains in thin trading on Monday, as expectations of further government stimulus were reinforced by ugly economic data ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
The market also drew support from liquidity unlocked from last week’s initial public offering rush, as well as signs of accelerating reforms in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) after government-owned automaker SAIC Motor Corp Ltd unveiled changes in share ownership.
Data published late on Friday showed that China’s January growth in broad money support slumped to a record low of 10.8 percent, strengthening hopes that further loosening in monetary policies is imminent.
Echoing such market expectations, policy insiders told Reuters over the weekend that Chinese authorities will cut interest rates, increase liquidity and tolerate some currency weakness to ensure the economy grows around 7 percent this year, so as to push on with reforms.
“The government doesn’t have many cards left in its sleeves, so the uglier the economic data, the more likely policy makers will play these cards,” said Hou Yingmin, analyst at brokerage Shanghai Aj Corp.
“The recent rebound has helped create a joyful atmosphere ahead of the Chinese New Year, but don’t forget the indexes are still in a consolidation period so a correction could happen at any time.”
Monday’s market also benefited from an improvement in liquidity as some of the money frozen in last week’s IPO rush - estimated by some to be worth around 2 trillion yuan - flow back into stocks.
The CSI300 index rose 0.4 percent, to 3,483.14 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent, to 3,211.60 points.
Hong Kong shares also advanced, with the Hang Seng index up 0.2 percent at 24,735.25 points.
Shanghai-based automaker SAIC announced over the weekend that its state-owned parent would transfer 334.4 million shares, or 3 percent of the company, to a Shanghai government-controlled financial conglomerate, as part of a scheme to restructure the city’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
The announcement fanned hopes of imminent reforms in other Shanghai-based SOEs. Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co Ltd and Shanghai Shenda Co Ltd, two listed units of state-owned Bright Food (Group) Co, jumped more than 4 percent on the news.
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 Shri Navaratnam