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SHANGHAI: China stocks fell on Thursday after new bank lending in China fell more than expected in December from the previous month, led by property developers and consumption stocks.

The CSI300 index fell 0.6% to 4,818.76 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,586.29.

The Hang Seng index added 0.1% to 24,421.83. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.1% to 8,603.07.

China shares gain as slower-than-expected inflation raises monetary easing bets

** Chinese banks extended 1.13 trillion yuan ($177.56 billion) in new yuan loans in December, down from 1.27 trillion yuan in November, but lending for the full year of 2021 set a record.

** China's inflation data rose slower than expected in December, while the country is battling with is latest outbreaks of COVID-19, with the Omicron variant detected in several cities.

** "Although the Omicron outbreak and lower CPI inflation in December increase the likelihood of a slight cut in the PBoC's policy rates in the near term, we believe the space remains quite limited, and the impact of a rate cut may also be quite small, especially if the long-term LPR is not revised down," said Nomura in a note.

** Real estate developers dropped 2%, while consumer staples and information technology lost 1.3% and 0.9% respectively.

** However, energy stocks gained 2.3%, with coal miners up 2.8%.

** Hong Kong shares edged up on support of index heavyweight AIA gain.

** The Hang Seng Tech index declined 1.5%, with Tencent Holdings down 1.4%.

** However, insurer AIA Group rose 1.7% to become the biggest point contributor lifting the Hang Seng Index.

** Hang Seng Composite Index-Energy gained 2.5%, with PetroChina Co Ltd up 2.1% after it forecasted strong profit in 2021 on higher crude prices.

** Mainland developers listed in Hong Kong tumbled 3%, led by a 16% decline in Sunac China Holdings Ltd after it planned sale of 452 million new shares for repayment of loans and general corporate purposes.

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