Wed, Oct 17, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Curbs stay on Chinese trading in HK

AP , BEIJING

The launch of a program to let Chinese investors trade Hong Kong stocks is still some time away, the country's central bank governor said yesterday, disappointing Hong Kong investors who have bid up shares in anticipation of a flood of money entering the market.

Regulators are still making preparations and will conduct tests before an official launch, Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川) said during a meeting at a Communist Party congress. He gave no timetable for its launch.

China's foreign exchange regulator said in August it would start letting individual mainland investors directly trade Hong Kong-listed securities at some future date.

Zhou's comments helped send Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index down nearly 2 percent yesterday to 28,954.55.

But Chinese stocks rose to a record yesterday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gaining 1 percent, or 61.97 points, to 6,092.06. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1 percent to 1,540.13.

Chinese investors are blocked from buying most foreign securities because they cannot freely buy foreign currency. The Hong Kong securities plan is part of efforts to ease Chinese currency controls and make more investments available to individual investors.

Hong Kong is Chinese territory but has its own currency and financial markets and is treated as a foreign economy by mainland regulators.

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