* CSI300 +1.3 pct; SSEC +1.5 pct; HSI +0.9 pct
* Weak export data reinforces stimulus hopes
* B shares jump for second trading day
By Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney
SHANGHAI, April 13 (Reuters) - Chinese stocks rose to fresh seven-year highs on Monday morning, after surprisingly bad export data reinforced expectations the government will unveil fresh stimulus moves to aid the economy.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index is on track to rise for an eighth consecutive session on hopes of fresh money inflows, while bargain hunters also pushed Shanghai’s dollar-denominated B share index up more than 9 percent for the second trading day.
The bull rages on against the backdrop of weak economic fundamentals, as data released on Monday showed China’s exports contracted 15 percent in March from a year earlier. The stunning drop strengthens belief that the government will soon act to boost growth.
“More stimulus measures are needed in the future,” said Nie Wen, a strategist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.
Tim Shirata, executive vice president of Guild Investment Management Inc, said in a note to clients that more easing measures are on the way so the Shanghai markets fall under the “don’t fight the central banks” rubric.
The CSI300 index was up 1.3 percent at the end of the morning session while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.5 percent. Both indexes hit their highest level since March 2008.
The Hang Seng Index rose 0.9 percent, and the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index jumped 2.3 percent, on continued expectations mainland mutual funds will soon start marching into the Hong Kong market.
Brokerage BOC International predicted that about 100 billion yuan ($16.09 billion) worth of capital will be raised by mainland mutual fund managers and become available to invest in Hong Kong as early as May.
In addition, Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily newspaper reported on Monday that the daily investment quota for Hong Kong stock purchases by mainlanders under the Shanghai-Hong Kong Connect scheme will be nearly quadrupled to 40 billion yuan.
“Cheap valuation, strong cross-border liquidity and positive technical set up, Hong Kong is entering a bull market,” Hong Hao, chief strategist with BOCOM International, wrote in a note to clients.
He sets a target of 32,000 for HSI, which is 16 percent higher than the current level. For the HSCE, he forecast at least 19,000, for a gain of more than 30 percent.
China’s banking stocks jumped nearly 3 percent on Monday, led by a 10 percent rise for China Merchants Bank Co Ltd, after the lender announced fundraising and stock incentive plans that analysts say point to broader ownership reforms in the banking sector. ($1 = 6.2140 Chinese yuan) (Reporting on Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Richard Borsuk)