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SHANGHAI: Chinese shares rose on Wednesday, supported by materials, consumer and new energy firms after slower-than-expected December producer inflation made room for more monetary easing in the world's second-largest economy.

** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.35% at 3,579.93.

** China's blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.36%, with the new energy sub-index up 2.26%.

** Resource firms were 2.06% higher and the consumer staples sector was up 0.49%.

Tech-focussed STAR market lifts China shares; Hong Kong gains

** China's producer prices rose slower than expected in December after government measures to contain high raw material prices, while consumer prices slowed as food prices fell.

** Analysts expect moderating factory-gate inflation to offer more room for loosening monetary policy, as authorities seek to stabilise growth.

** Hong Kong-listed Chinese H-shares rose 2.2% to 8,552.76, while the Hang Seng Index gained 2.12% to 24,241.15.

** The Hang Seng Tech index was 3.86% higher at midday as tech firms led a rebound in equities after US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave less hawkish than expected comments in a testimony to Congress.

** JD.Com Inc, up 9.89%, was the top gainer among H-shares, followed by Meituan, gaining 9.33% and CNOOC Ltd, up 7.93%.

** Mainland developers capped broader gains in Hong Kong and were the top H-shares decliners.

** Sunac China Holdings Ltd fell 4.6%, China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd lost 2.63% and Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd slipped 2.04%.

** The mainland properties index fell 1.99%.

** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.7%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was up 1.36% and Shanghai's tech-focused STAR50 index was up 0.61%?.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index rose 1.16%, while Japan's Nikkei index gained 1.93%.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.3651 per US dollar, 0.13% firmer than the previous close of 6.3733.

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