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SHANGHAI: China stocks edged higher on Wednesday, snapping a three-session losing streak, after data showed exports in June grew at their fastest pace in five months, even as recent rising COVID-19 cases clouded outlook for an economic recovery.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2% to 4,321.46, while the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1% to 3,284.29 points.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.2% to 20,797.95, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.6% to 7,145.83 points.

Asian stocks also made slight gains, as investors awaited a highly anticipated US inflation report later in the global day.

Outbound shipments in June were 17.9% higher than a year earlier, the fastest growth since January, official customs data showed.

“China’s export growth surprised on the upside in June, as economic activities resumed after lockdown ended in Shanghai,” said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.

However, “the current outbreak in Shanghai and some other cities again cast uncertainty to the economic recovery in Q3,” he added.

China’s commercial hub of Shanghai is racing to contain a nagging outbreak of dozens of new daily infections, which were already causing damage to the economy and unnerving residents.

A Reuters poll showed China’s gross domestic product (GDP) likely grew 1% in the April-June quarter from a year earlier.

China will step up policy support for the real economy, an official at the central bank said, adding that the country’s macro leverage ratio is expected to rise due to slowing growth and counter-cyclical policies.

Mainland-listed real estate developers rose 0.7%, banks lost 2.5%, and mainland developers traded in Hong Kong tumbled 4.2%.

Homebuyers of dozens of unfinished property projects across the country said they would suspend their mortgage payments, demanding resumption of the projects. Analysts warned this phenomenon might spread to more projects, dent sentiment and put more pressure on the sector.

New energy shares gained 2.5%, while semiconductors fell 1.5%.

Tech giants listed in Hong Kong added 0.5%, after a slump in the two previous sessions.

Tianqi Lithium, one of the world’s top producers of lithium chemicals, fell as much as 11.4% after the company raised $1.71 billion in the city’s biggest listing so far this year.

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