SHANGHAI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - China stocks softened on Wednesday, amid renewed worries that trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies could hit a snag, after Beijing condemned a U.S. Senate measure backing anti-government protesters in the Asian financial hub.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 1.0%, to 3,907.86, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.8% to 2,911.05.
** In a statement, China’s foreign ministry said the United States should stop interfering in Hong Kong and Chinese affairs and move to stop the latest bills on Hong Kong from becoming law.
** China condemned the passage of a bill by the U.S. Senate aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong, amid clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police.
** In the latest episode of more than five months of protest, a final band of anti-government protesters trapped in a Hong Kong university was weighing a narrowing range of options on Wednesday as police outside appeared ready to wait them out.
** Conflicting signals from Washington and Beijing in the past few days deflated market hopes of a truce soon to end their damaging tariff war. President Donald Trump said the United States would raise tariffs on Chinese imports if no deal is reached with Beijing.
** “With the prop from recent monetary easing likely to be underwhelming and headwinds to economic growth mounting, we think the PBOC will start to cut rates more aggressively in the coming months,” Martin Lynge Rasmussen, China economist at Capital Economics, said in a research note.
** China cut its lending benchmark rate on Wednesday, as widely expected, to reduce company funding costs and shore up an economy hurt by slowing demand and U.S. trade tariffs.
** China will revise its 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) estimate in the next few days to reflect an increase in the number of businesses and assets recorded in the last census, officials said.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.68%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.62%.
** At 0706 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.0301 per U.S. dollar, 0.04% weaker than the previous close of 7.0272.
** The Shanghai stock index is up 16.7% this year, and the CSI300 has risen 29.8%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 4.9%. Shanghai stocks have declined 0.61% this month.
** By 0707 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 27.23% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom)