(Updates to midday, adds premier’s comments on economy)
* CSI300 +0.4 pct, SSEC +0.4 pct, HSI +0.5 pct
* Analysts say little impact from South China Sea ruling
* Markets focus on trade and GDP data
By Nathaniel Taplin
SHANGHAI, July 13 (Reuters) - Chinese stocks edged up on Wednesday, with investors buying financial shares on expectations of more policy support while shrugging off the impact of an international tribunal’s ruling that denied China’s claims in the South China Sea.
Finance stocks led indexes up, with sharp rises in banking shares, including China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd, leading the CSI300 higher.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday China maintained sound economic growth in the second quarter, although he cautioned the foundation for strong economic performance was not yet strong.
On Tuesday, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines in a longstanding case, saying China had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects.
Analysts said the ruling - that China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea had no legal basis - had little impact on stocks although some defence-related manufacturers might benefit.
Instead, investors were focused on June trade figures due at 0700 GMT on Wednesday and second quarter GDP data due on Friday, which economists predict will be the weakest in seven years.
Weak economic growth raises the odds of further action by the central bank which would boost finance shares, analysts said. But recent local media commentaries have hinted that the People’s Bank of China is reluctant to engage in large scale easing in the second half given the major expansion in stimulus earlier in the year.
“The South China Sea ruling was expected, and is mainly a matter of face, the direct impact on the market is pretty limited,” said Xiao Shijun, analyst at Guodu Securities in Beijing.
“On the GDP data and other macro data, if it comes in weaker than expected, you might see some small adjustments in monetary policy.”
The CSI300 index rose 0.4 percent, to 3,286.47 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 percent, to 3,060.45 points.
China CSI300 stock index futures for July rose 1.0 percent, to 3,284.6, 1.87 points below the current value of the underlying index.
The Hang Seng index added 0.5 percent, to 21,335.53 points.
The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.8 percent, to 8,922.46.
The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 130.82.
A value above 100 indicates Shanghai shares are pricing at a premium to shares in the same company trading in Hong Kong, and vice versa.
The northbound quota for the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect, currently set at 13 billion yuan, saw net inflows of 0.25 billion yuan.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 15.25 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 15.98 billion shares.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 0.9 billion shares.
Editing by Jacqueline Wong