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SHANGHAI: China stocks closed higher on Wednesday, with the property sector leading gains, as traders found comfort in the progress made in Ukraine-Russia peace talks and awaited more stimulus measures domestically.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 2.9% to 4,254.10, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 2% to 3,266.60 points.

The Hang Seng index rose 1.4% to 22,232.03, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.3% to 7,609.37 points.

Russia promised on Tuesday to scale down military operations around Kyiv and another city, but the United States warned the threat was not over as Ukraine proposed adopting a neutral status in a sign of progress at face-to-face negotiations.

“Risk appetite among global financial markets had improved on the positive development in Ukraine-Russia peace talks,” said Zhang Yanbin, an analyst with Zheshang Securities.

Foreign investors were net buyers of China stocks on Wednesday, with Northbound inflows through Stock Connect totalling 16.9 billion yuan ($2.66 billion) on the day, according to Refinitiv data., ** Real estate developers surged 6.8% on further bets of easing in the cash-strapped sector, and financials gained 2.9%.

“Local media reported that Shenzhen will relax price restriction for developers project selling prices ... it signals that as the city with strictest housing policy in China, Shenzhen is also under huge pressure to loosen policy,” said CGS-CIMB Securities analysts.

“We expect to see more local cities to follow,” they added.

Consumer staples, tourism firms and new energy shares jumped more than 3% each.

China reported 1,629 confirmed coronavirus cases and 7,196 new asymptomatic cases for March 29. The eastern part of China’s financial hub of Shanghai city, home to 23 million people, is in its third day of a lockdown.

China’s factory activity likely shrank in March amid virus outbreaks, a Reuters poll showed.

The rapidly deteriorating pandemic and escalating control measures added downward pressure on the world’s second-largest economy, and analysts expect the government to roll out more stimulus to achieve China’s 5.5% growth target.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Tech Index edged up 0.3%, after surging more than 2% in early morning trade, following a Wall Street Journal report that China is planning new curbs on the country’s $30 billion live-streaming industry.

China’s tax regulator said later in the day it would require livestreaming platforms to report livestreamers’ identities, income and profits every six months.

Short-video and live-streaming company Kuaishou Technology slumped more than 6% after opening 8.3% higher, despite a 37.9% surge in full-year revenue.

Mainland developers listed in Hong Kong soared nearly 6%, with Sunac China Holdings, China Aoyuan Group and Shimao Group up between 16% and 20% each.

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