October 20, 2016 / 5:41 AM / 2 years ago

Hong Kong shares rise, lifted by energy firms; China flat

* Hong Kong-listed energy shares jump on higher oil prices

* S&P says China’s credit surge hit lenders’ liquidity profile

SHANGHAI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s main stock indexes edged up on Thursday morning, led by a jump in energy shares, but Chinese markets were flat as investors pondered the economic implications of a raft of data released this week.

There was little reaction to the third, and final U.S. presidential debate that took place during morning trading hours in Asia, with recent polls showing Democrat Hilary Clinton widening her lead over Republican Donald Trump.

The Hang Seng index added 0.7 percent, to 23,466.44 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.0 percent, to 9,737.69.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index were barely changed at lunch break.

An index tracking Hong Kong-listed energy shares jumped nearly 3 percent, lifted by sharp gains in Chinese oil giants CNOOC, Sinopec and PetroChina on the back of higher oil prices.

China’s state planning agency raised retail prices of gasoline starting Thursday after a rally in the international crude oil price, which hovered near a 15-month high.

Investors were also taking stock of a slew of economic data released this week, including strong-than-expected loan growth in September, and third-quarter economic growth f 6.7 percent, which was in line with expectations.

The steady economic growth appeared to be underpinned by strong government spending, and some economists believe Beijing has had to “double down” on stimulus this year to meet its official growth range of 6.5 to 7 percent.

S&P Global Ratings said in a report on Thursday that the surge in credit by Chinese banks since early 2015 has supported the profitability of the country’s banks, but it has also hit their capitalization, as well as the funding and liquidity profiles.

“We see a risk of a sudden bottleneck in credit supply among many of the top 50 banks over the next two or three years,” said S&P’s senior director Liao Qiang.

“As a result, we expect downward pressure on credit profiles of these banks for the next two years, at least.”

Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch

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