China stocks rise on debt swap scheme, credit expansion
SHANGHAI, March 13 (Reuters) - China's main stock indexes rose to their highest level in two months on Friday, while Shenzhen's Nasdaq-style ChiNext board closed at a record high, as Beijing's local government debt swap scheme and February's loan data boosted investor confidence.
China's finance ministry said late on Thursday that more than half of the high-interest local government debt falling due in 2015, totalling 1 trillion yuan ($159.80 billion), will be covered under an impending debt swap, into official municipal or provincial debt.
Analysts say the move would bolster banks' balance sheets.
Investors were also encouraged by unexpectedly strong credit expansion in February and remarks from the central bank governor about the stock market.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.7 percent, to 3,617.66, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7 percent, to 3,372.91 points.
Smaller banks, many controlled by local governments, were generally up, but most big lenders surrendered early gains on profit taking.
Among the most active stocks in Shanghai were Bank of China , down 0.5 percent to 4.16 yuan; Industrial Bank , up 3.3 percent to 16.49 yuan and Agricultural Bank of China, unchanged at 3.32 yuan.
In Shenzhen, Ping An Bank, up 2.7 percent to 14.99 yuan; TCL Corp, up 1.0 percent to 5.11 yuan and BOE Technology, up 0.3 percent to 3.14 yuan were among the most actively traded.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 32.7 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 17.9 billion shares. (Reporting by the Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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