August 9, 2016 / 4:36 AM / 2 years ago

China stocks inch up as inflation remains low; Hong Kong take a breather

* CSI300 +0.3 pct; SSEC +0.3 pct; HSI: -0.2 pct

* low inflation means there’s still room for easing-analyst

* NSBO upgrade steel sector to positive, citing higher

SHANGHAI, Aug 9 (Reuters) - China stocks edged up on Tuesday morning, with data showing low inflation keeping alive hopes of further monetary policy easing, although real estate shares corrected after strong gains in recent sessions.

Hong Kong shares were roughly flat, pausing after hitting eight-month highs the previous session.

Both China’s CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent, to 3,244.31 points and 3,012.89 points, respectively.

Data released on Tuesday shows that China’s consumer price inflation accelerated at its weakest pace in six months, although the long decline in upstream prices continued to moderate.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.8 percent in July from a year earlier, while the producer price index (PPI) dropped 1.7 percent.

“Low inflation means there’s still room for monetary easing, which is good for stocks,” said Chang Chengwei, analyst at Hengtai Futures Co.

But he also pointed out that monetary easing has its limits in stimulating the economy - evidenced by signs that money is chasing treasuries instead of flowing into the real economy.

Resources shares were firm as investors bet Beijing’s stepped-up efforts to reduce excess capacity would help push up commodity prices in the second half.

China-focused investment bank NSBO upgraded the steel sector to positive, citing higher demand for the metal due to rising property and infrastructure construction.

“The restrained supply response to multi-year highs in steel prices suggests that the sector can get to grips with its long-standing problem of structural oversupply,” NSBO wrote.

But the real estate sector, which jumped nearly 10 percent over the past three sessions on the back of a bidding war around major developer Vanke, eased on Tuesday morning.

Vanke shares fell 0.6 percent in Shenzhen, but were still up 0.5 percent in Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dipped 0.2 percent, to 22,452.26 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index was unchanged at 9,272.83.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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