* CSI300 -1.0 pct; SSEC -1.1 pct; HSI +0.8 pct
* Forecast-beating inflation limits room for easing-analyst
* China’s AI-related stocks up after Google Computer triumph
SHANGHAI, March 10 (Reuters) - China stocks fell roughly 1 percent on Thursday morning as investors interpreted data showing consumer inflation rising fast than forecast as being largely negative for an economy struggling to find momentum.
Consumer inflation rose 2.3 percent in February, accelerating at its fastest pace since July 2014, but producer prices remained stubbornly weak.
“Higher inflation in a weak economy is not a good thing, because it limits the room for monetary easing while increasing people’s living costs,” said Yang Hai, strategist at Kaiyuan Securities.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index fell 1.0 percent, to 3,042.86 points by lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.1 percent, to 2,830.58 points, adding fresh evidence that the recent rally is running out of steam.
The consumer inflation data nevertheless helped consumer stocks, which became the only sector that ended morning trade in positive territory.
The banking sector fell 1 percent, as Ping An Bank kicked off lenders’ earnings season with forecast-lagging results.
That stirred fear that bigger, less efficient state lenders would also release disappointing earnings.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector was in the spotlight on Thursday, after Google’s AlphaGo computer outwitted the world champion of the ancient Chinese board game of Go.
Shares of several companies related to AI, such as CSG Smart Science and Technology and Shenyang Yuanda Intellectual Industry Group jumped by 10 percent daily limit.
Meantime, Hong Kong shares tracked Asian markets higher, buoyed by hopes that the European Central Bank will announce fresh monetary stimulus later in the day to support the struggling European economy.
The Hang Seng index added 0.8 percent, to 20,152.37 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.9 percent, to 8,518.55.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and Nathaniel Taplin; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore