* SSEC -0.05%, CSI300 +0.15%, HSI -0.3%
* Trump says U.S. could impose tariffs if necessary
* Yuan weakens to 6.8826 per dollar
SHANGHAI, July 17 (Reuters) - China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index was little changed in a relatively dull trade on Wednesday as investors continued to digest this week’s economic data and awaited further clarity on Sino-U.S. trade negotiations and policy easing. ** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.05% at 2,936.04 points. Volumes were relatively light, with about 8.46 billion shares trading so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 43.3% of the market’s 30-day moving average of 19.54 billion shares a day. ** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.15%, with its financial sector sub-index dipping 0.12%, the consumer staples sector climbing 0.59%, the real estate index gaining 0.62% and the healthcare sub-index up 0.12%. ** U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in June, reducing market expectations for an aggressive interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve at its meeting this month, though a smaller cut is still expected. China is expected to step up support for its own economy after data showed the economy grew 6.2% in the second quarter, its slowest quarterly pace on record. ** Reviving concerns over trade negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States still has a long way to go to conclude a trade deal with China, but could impose tariffs on an additional $325 billion worth of Chinese goods if it needed to do so. ** The United States did not fully comply with a World Trade Organization ruling and could face Chinese sanctions if it does not remove certain tariffs that break WTO rules, the WTO’s appeals judges said in a ruling on Tuesday. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.42% to 10,819.91, while the Hang Seng Index slipped 0.31% to 28,531.78. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.48% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index gained 0.98%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.28%, while Japan’s Nikkei index lost 0.40%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.8826 per U.S. dollar, 0.1% weaker than the previous close of 6.876. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Irico Display Devices Co Ltd, up 10.06%, followed by Zhengping Road & Bridge Construction Co Ltd , gaining 10.04% and Hunan New Wellful Co Ltd , up by 10.03%. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Anhui Golden Seed Winery Co Ltd, down 8.53%, followed by Zhejiang Xinhua Chemical Co Ltd, losing 7.01% and Guangdong Songyang Recycle Resources Co Ltd , down by 5.85%. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, up 2.86%, followed by China National Building Material Co Ltd, gaining 2.54% and Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd, up by 1.93%. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which has fallen 3.07%, CNOOC Ltd, which has lost 2.1% and Postal Savings Bank of China Co Ltd, down by 1.7%. ** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares dipped 1.2% while the IT sector rose %. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, up 4.05%, while the biggest loser was CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which was down 3.07%.
Reporting by Andrew Galbraith, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips