July 14, 2016 / 4:26 AM / 2 years ago

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.

China’s CSI300 stock index futures for July fell 0.2 percent, to 3,267.6, 4.23 points below the current value of the underlying index.

The Hang Seng index added 0.1 percent, to 21,332.36 points.

The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.1 percent, to 8,899.76.

The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 130.25.

A value above 100 indicates Shanghai shares are pricing at a premium to shares in the same company trading in Hong Kong, and vice versa.

The northbound quota for the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect, currently set at 13 billion yuan, saw net inflows of 0.38 billion yuan.

Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 10.01 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 13.23 billion shares.

Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 0.6 billion shares.

Reporting by Nathaniel Taplin; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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