China stocks ease as metals, mining shares sag; Hong Kong flat
* CSI300 -0.3 pct, SSEC -0.4 pct, HSI +0.1 pct
* Materials shares down after weak commodity imports
* Coal, copper, machinery stocks fall
SHANGHAI, July 14 (Reuters) - China stocks were lower on Thursday after trade data showing weak commodity imports hurt mining, metals and industrial companies, while Hong Kong share markets were subdued.
In the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets, metals, mining and machinery stocks led indexes lower, with the CSI300 materials sub-index down 1.2 percent.
The CSI300 index fell 0.3 percent, to 3,271.83 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent, to 3,047.86 points.
Julia Wang, Greater China Economist at HSBC in Hong Kong, said the main surprise in China's trade data for June released on Wednesday was a weaker-than-expected drop in imports.
"Indeed, demand for commodities (coal, iron ore, crude oil, copper) have slowed across the board, both in volume as well as value terms. This suggests that the domestic industrial sector has probably slowed over the month," Wang said in a report.
Overall June imports fell 8.4 percent on the year, much worse than analyst forecasts for a five percent fall and the weakest reading since April. Continuación...