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SHANGHAI: China A-shares rose on Wednesday, lifted by gains in financial and rare earth firms, and as new inflation data raised hopes that policymakers could ease policy further to support growth in the world's second-largest economy.

At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.69% at 3,469.85 points.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.65%, with its financial sector sub-index 0.89% higher, the consumer staples sector up 0.31%, the real estate index up 1.35% and the healthcare sub-index up 0.8%.

China's factory-gate inflation eased to its slowest pace in six months and consumer price growth also softened in January, potentially giving the People's Bank of China room to ease policy to support the slowing economy.

Rare earth firms posted some of the strongest gains on the day, with an index tracking the sector up 2.61%, as prices of the materials rose to record highs on strong demand.

Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) also pulled the CSI300 index higher, rising 1.81% and extending a rebound from its biggest weekly drop on record last week.

Medical tech platform firm WuXi AppTec gained 5.17%, a day after posting a sharp rise in net profit for 2021.

Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 1.51% to 8,657.42, while the Hang Seng Index was up 1.27% at 24,665.22.

Gains in Hong Kong were led by consumer and tech firms, with the Hang Seng Tech index up 1.92%, and Alibaba Group Holding up 2.62%.

The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.8%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.66% and Shanghai's tech-focused STAR50 index was up 0.16%.

Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was 1.03% firmer, while Japan's Nikkei index was up 2.09%.

The yuan was quoted at 6.3403 per US dollar, 0.02% weaker than the previous close of 6.3388.

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