May 20, 2020 / 4:53 AM / 7 days ago

China shares fall as cautious investors await key policy meetings

* SSEC -0.45%, CSI300 -0.49%,, HSI -0.1%

* China to hold key political meetings from Thursday

* New energy vehicle sector gains on more govt incentive hopes

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, May 20 (Reuters) - China shares fell on Wednesday as cautious investors held back ahead of the country’s annual political meetings where policymakers will discuss measures to boost the economy.

** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.45% at 2,885.54.

** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.49%, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.37%, the consumer staples sector down 0.46%, the real estate index down 1.17% and the healthcare sub-index down 0.68%.

** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.1% to 9,893.25, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.1% at 24,364.49.

** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 0.65% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.51%.

** While China’s parliament’s will begin a key annual session on Friday, its advisory body — The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference — will start its session a day earlier.

** The sentiment is weak before these meetings as investors await clearer signs of government measures to counter the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Western Securities’ analyst Cao Xuefeng said. ** The new energy vehicle sector bucked the trend, rising 3.74%, on expectations of more government incentives after Shanghai’s plan to give 4,000 yuan each to buyers for purchasing vehicles with lower emission.

** China recorded five new COVID-19 cases for May 19, down from six a day earlier.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was little changed, while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 1.02%. ** The yuan was quoted at 7.1044 per U.S. dollar, 0.06% weaker than the previous close of 7.1. (Reporting by Zhang Yan in Beijing, and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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