(Updated)

China stocks end higher as easing Covid-19 cases lift risk appetite

Shanghai said on Wednesday (May 11) half the city had achieved 'zero-Covid' status, but uncompromising restrictions had to remain in place under a national policy. (Photo by Reuters)

Shanghai said on Wednesday (May 11) half the city had achieved 'zero-Covid' status, but uncompromising restrictions had to remain in place under a national policy. (Photo by Reuters)

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SHANGHAI (May 11): China stocks closed higher on Wednesday (May 11) as investors took comfort in signs of lower domestic Covid-19 infections, while US President Joe Biden's decision to consider eliminating Trump-era tariffs on Beijing further lifted risk appetite.

The blue-chip CSI 300 Index ended 1.4% higher at 3,976.42, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8% to 3,058.70 points.

The Hang Seng Index rose 1% to 19,824.57, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.7% to 6,769.72 points.

Shanghai said on Wednesday half the city had achieved "zero-Covid" status, but uncompromising restrictions had to remain in place under a national policy. Meanwhile, new cases detected in Beijing dropped to the lowest level since April 26.

The head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday China's zero-tolerance Covid-19 policy is not sustainable given what is now known of the virus.

"Over the past week, the Covid-19 situation has continued to improve at the national level," said Nomura in a note. "However, the turning point for economic fundamentals and most financial assets in coming weeks (or months) depends mainly on Beijing's stance on its zero-Covid strategy instead of daily cases."

Lifting market sentiment further, China's producer prices rose at the slowest pace in a year in April despite a surge in global commodity costs, leaving room for more stimulus to shore up the flagging economy.

Risks affecting China's onshore market are controllable, and the market has solid foundation for stable operation, the official CCTV reported on Tuesday, citing a securities regulatory official.

Biden, under pressure to tame high inflation, said he is considering eliminating Trump-era tariffs on China as a way to lower prices for goods in the US.

Chinese equities could be approaching the late stage of a bear market, but the potential final leg is likely to be bumpy, Morgan Stanley strategists said in a note.

The bank expects near-term market volatility to remain elevated, citing China's Covid-19 situation, geopolitical tensions, global macro slowdown and monetary tightening.

Traders were also awaiting US inflation data, due at 1230 GMT on the day, which will offer a guide to how aggressively the US Federal Reserve will raise rates.

New energy firms jumped more than 4% to lead the gains, with battery giant CATL up more than 8%. Semiconductors and machinery stocks also went up more than 3% each.

Tech giants listed in Hong Kong climbed 2.9% to lift the Hang Seng benchmark after jumping up to 6%, with index heavyweights Meituan and Tencent up 6.3% and 2.7% respectively.