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SHANGHAI, March 12 (Reuters) - China's main stock indices rose on Thursday, fuelled by a surge in banking shares as investors expect Beijing's plans to let local governments swap out expensive debt would help repair lenders' balance sheets.
China unveiled plans to exchange 1 trillion yuan ($159.70 billion) worth of local government high-interest maturing debt for low-interest municipal or provincial bonds. Analysts say that would greatly improve banks' asset quality.
Hopes that China will step up monetary easing to support the slowing economy further aided stocks.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 1.9 percent, to 3,592.84, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.8 percent, to 3,349.32 points.
Among the most active stocks in Shanghai were Bank Of China , up 4.2 percent to 4.18 yuan; Industrial Bank , up 9.4 percent to 15.94 yuan and Agricultural Bank Of China, up 2.8 percent to 3.31 yuan.
In Shenzhen, TCL Corp, down 2.1 percent to 5.06 yuan; Ping An Bank, up 5.3 percent to 14.60 yuan and Bank Of Ningbo, up 8.8 percent to 17.40 yuan were among the most actively traded.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 35.6 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 19.8 billion shares. ($1 = 6.2619 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Eric Meijer)