January 2, 2019 / 7:25 AM / in 8 months

China stocks end lower as economic data disappoints

* Shanghai index ends lower, blue-chip CSI300 index falls

* Gains in Shanghai stocks led by Beijing Airport High-Tech Park Co Ltd and losses by Hubei Jumpcan Pharmaceutical Co Ltd

* China’s A-shares are at a 18.88 percent premium over H-shares

SHANGHAI, Jan 2 (Reuters) - China stocks started 2019 on a bearish note, closing lower on Wednesday, as lacklustre economic data stoked worries about a global slowdown.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 1.4 percent to 2,969.54 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended down 1.1 percent at 2,465.29 points.

** China’s factory activity contracted for the first time in over two years in December, highlighting the challenges facing Beijing as it seeks to end a bruising trade war with Washington and reduce the risk of a sharper economic slowdown in 2019.

** The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) - the first snapshot of China’s economy each month - fell to 49.4 in December, below the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction, a National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) survey showed on Monday.

** There is a hint to some extent from the PMI data, that the slide in corporate profits has just begun, Guotai Junan Securities wrote in note.

** Largely dovetailing with the official survey, a private survey showed China’s factory activity contracted for the first time in 19 months in December as domestic and export orders continued to weaken.

** China’s monetary policy stance has not shifted, but a greater focus will be placed on flexible policymaking to adjust to changes, a central bank official said, with the Chinese economy widely expected to face more headwinds next year.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 1.72 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.31 percent.

** At 07:05 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.8516 per U.S. dollar, 0.31 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.873.

** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Beijing Airport High-Tech Park Co Ltd , up 10.06 percent, followed by Aerospace Communications Holdings Co Ltd, gaining 10.03 percent and Eastern Communications Co Ltd, up by 10.03 percent.

** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were shares of Hubei Jumpcan Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, down 9.99 percent, followed by those of Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co Ltd losing 9.99 percent and Ribo Fashion Group Co Ltd falling 9.97 percent.

** As of 07:06 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.88 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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