August 8, 2017 / 7:25 AM / a year ago

China stocks edge up as investors shrug off weak trade data

SHANGHAI, Aug 8 (Reuters) - China stocks edged slightly higher on Tuesday in quiet trading as investors shrugged off data showing Chinese exports and imports grew more slowly than expected in July.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2 percent, to 3,732.69 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent, to 3,282.95 points.

“Today was relatively stable, with more activity in certain sectors like agriculture and stocks related to the Xiongan New Area,” said Zhang Qi, an analyst at Haitong Securities in Shanghai, referring to a planned new city near Beijing.

“The impact from trade data is relatively limited,” he said.

Consumer non-cyclicals led gains on Tuesday while energy firms were among those pulling the market downward.

Huaneng Power International ended the day 0.8 percent lower. Coal companies also fell after data showed coal imports at a five-month low in July.

Shaanxi Coal Industry Co fell 3.1 percent.

Materials firms also fell, with Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co finishing down 0.6 percent.

Preliminary figures for July showed that China’s export growth slowed to 7.2 percent from a year earlier, the weakest pace since February. Imports rose 11.0 percent, the slowest growth since December and down from a 17.2 percent rise in the previous month.

“Despite some slowdown in trade growth momentum in July, strong expansion is still evident in Chinese exports and imports measured on a year-on-year basis,” Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, said. “With imports in yuan terms still rising by 14.7% y/y in July, this shows that domestic demand is still robust.” (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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