* CSI300 +0.5 pct; SSEC +0.1 pct; HSI +0.5 pct
* Property, banking shares rise on easing policies
* Hong Kong shares up on signs of inflows from China
By Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney
SHANGHAI, March 31 (Reuters) - China stocks hit fresh seven-year highs on Tuesday morning, helped by rises in property and banking stocks after Beijing eased lending policies to bolster the struggling real estate market.
The CSI300 index surged 1.9 percent early but ended the morning up 0.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index also gave up some early gains, and was 0.1 percent ahead at midday.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent on China’s latest easing move, touching six-month-highs, with Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies climbing on signs of fresh money inflows from the mainland.
Stocks in the mainland are at levels “where some investors are piling in while some others are taking profit, which is why you see huge turnover,” Shen Yun, Shanghai-based analyst at Wanlian Securities said.
“We’re cautiously optimistic. The market may go up further, but you need to brace yourself for possible corrections,” he said.
The CSI300 Real Estate Index, advanced 0.7 percent, after surging 7.3 percent on Monday, its biggest daily rise this year after rumours spread that housing policies would be relaxed.
Indeed, after Monday’s market close, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it would cut the downpayment ratio for second homes to 40 percent from 60 percent.
Separately, the Ministry of Finance reduced the minimum holding period of a property to be exempt from sales tax from five years to two years.
Analysts said a glut of unsold homes was likely to continue to weigh on home prices for much of the year.
China banking stocks also rose sharply, as investors bet a healthier real estate market would improve lenders’ profitability and reduce the risk of higher levels of bad loans.
In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index, which tracks Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong, extended Monday’s gains to hit its highest level in nearly four years.
Traders cited signs of fresh money inflows from China after Chinese regulators last weekend said they would allow mainland mutual funds to invest in Hong Kong shares via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect scheme.
On Monday, nearly a quarter of the daily quota was taken up on the Hong Kong-bound leg, the highest since the scheme was launched. In contrast, only 5 percent of the quota was used last Friday. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)