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SHANGHAI: Mainland China and Hong Kong stocks tracked global peers higher on Wednesday, while an official pledge to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 fallout also helped lift market sentiment.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.77% to 3,304.72 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.34% at 4,283.8 points.

The financial sector sub-index edged up 0.17%, the consumer staples sector climbed 0.32%, and the healthcare sub-index finished higher by 0.95%.

The smaller Shenzhen index rose 0.71%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index advanced 0.52% and Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR50 index jumped 1.66%.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 1.11% to 20,890.22 points, the highest close since July 11, when Chinese H-shared listed in Hong Kong rose 1.15%.

Mainland and Hong Kong markets tracked a global rally as strong US corporate earnings and the expected resumption of Russian gas supply to Europe helped lift sentiment.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday recovery in the Chinese economy from a recent bout of weakness is not yet firmly established and “painstaking” efforts are needed to stabilise overall economic performance, according to state media.

Earlier in the session, China kept its benchmark lending rates for corporate and household loans unchanged, as policymakers adopted a cautious approach amid signs of economic recovery, growing domestic inflationary pressure and aggressive global rate rises.

“With China beginning its slow climb out of recession, we have rotated equity exposure from slowing developed market economies to at least a stabilising China domestic economy looking ahead,” said Norman Villamin, CIO Wealth Management at Union Bancaire Privee (UBP).

“After having exited China’s markets last year, we started to make a comeback as economic activity seems to have bottomed while further stimulus is likely. In addition, Chinese equities provide diversification benefit in the context of a global portfolio due to their low correlation with other markets.” One of the major underperformers was the property sector as it continued to face pressure from a scare caused by the proliferation of threats by homebuyers to withhold payments for stalled projects.

“The China property market rout remains in focus,” said Ken Cheung, chief Asian FX strategist at Mizuho Bank. “Despite the government’s measures to ring-fence the mortgage boycott, the property market is far from settling down.”

The real estate index fell 0.49% at close, while mainland developers listed in Hong Kong plunged 1.42%.

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