China stocks end up higher in banking and infrastructure push

SHANGHAI, Mar 22 (Reuters) – Chinese stocks closed higher on Monday, supported by banking and infrastructure stocks as the country’s central bank left its key rate on corporate and household credit unchanged.

** The CSI300 index rose 0.7% to 5,042.82 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.9% to 3,435.41 points.

** The session’s gains came after a four-week losing streak as investors pulled out of highly rated sectors amid fears of monetary tightening.

** At the top of earnings, the CSI300 banking index rose 2.3% while the CSI300 infrastructure index rose 3%.

** “Consumer, health and new energy stocks have seen corrections recently while financials may support the market and encourage a slow long-term bull run,” said Hu Yunlong, a Beijing-based hedge fund manager.

** “The market is still looking for a direction that remains unclear for now as institutional investors continue to adjust their positions,” he added.

** China left its corporate and household credit benchmark rate unchanged when it was fixed in March on Monday for the 11th straight month, in line with market expectations.

** China’s monetary policy must focus on targeted support for economic growth while reducing financial risks, said the central bank chief.

** Sino-US relations also remained a focus of investors.

** US President Joe Biden “will be good for relations” between China and the United States, even if both sides “started off a little chilly,” said former US Secretary of Defense William Cohen in a Beijing forum.

** China and the United States will set up a joint working group on climate change, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said in a potentially positive excerpt from an unusually malicious high-level meeting. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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