July 19, 2019 / 9:36 AM / a year ago

China, Hong Kong stocks close higher on U.S. rate cut hopes

SHANGHAI, July 19 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks ended the week on an upbeat note, after a comment from top Federal Reserve official raised hopes of a U.S. interest rate cut later this month, fuelling risk appetite.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1.1%, to 3,807.96, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8% to 2,924.20. For the week though, CSI300 and SSEC were roughly flat.

** New York Fed President John Williams said on Thursday that policymakers could not wait for an economic disaster to hit before adding stimulus, in a speech read as a strong argument in favour of quick monetary action.

** The comments by Williams made it a virtual certainty the U.S. Fed would cut interest rates by 25 basis points at its July 30-31 policy meeting and fuelled expectations of an even deeper 50 basis point reduction. ** Reports of resumption in Sino-U.S. trade talks, and China considering broadening an inbound investment channel by foreign investors also aided sentiment.

** U.S. and Chinese officials spoke by telephone on Thursday as the world’s two largest economies seek to end a year-long trade war. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested that in-person talks could follow.

** Meanwhile, mood in mainland market was lifted after China’s foreign exchange regulator said it was considering increasing or even scrapping quotas under cross-border investment scheme QFII. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom)

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