* HSI -0.4 pct, H-shares -0.1 pct, CSI300 +0.5 pct
* Coal producers lifted by China Coal's positive Nov sales
* China property shares sink, Beijing says to maintain
* AIA trading suspended after AIG launches $6.5 bln stake
By Vikram Subhedar and Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Dec 17 (Reuters) - China shares closed at their
highest in more than four months on Monday as investors,
encouraged by more signs of reforms to come, added to a surge
last week that put onshore markets on course for their first
annual gain since 2009.
After an annual policy-setting conference presided over by
new Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping on Sunday, the official
Xinhua news agency reported that China will maintain steady
economic polices in 2013, leaving room for manoeuvre in the face
of global risks while deepening reforms to support long-term
That helped boost sentiment to extend last week's rally. The
Shanghai Composite Index and CSI300 of the top
Shanghai and Shenzhen listings each closed up 0.5 percent at
their highest since Aug. 10.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index slipped 0.4 percent
from a 16-month high, and the China Enterprises Index of
the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong edged down 0.1 percent as
investors took profit on the year's outperformers.
Steps by Chinese authorities to boost confidence in onshore
markets along with hopes that China's new leaders will succeed
in stabilizing growth and push through reforms have triggered a
rebound off the multi-year lows hit earlier this month.
"Overall, the resolution of the leadership contest is
positive for the Chinese market," said Martha Wang, portfolio
manager of Fidelity's China Focus Fund, in an emailed statement.
"There are many companies with strong fundamentals, which
have been indiscriminately punished by political uncertainty,
trading at attractive valuations," Wang added, without giving
The CSI300, comprising China's large-cap stocks, has
rebounded 12 percent since its Dec. 3 closing low and is now up
0.9 percent on the year. The Shanghai Composite Index is
still down 1.8 percent in 2012.
In another move over the weekend designed to further boost
the A-share market, China's foreign exchange regulator removed
the $1 billion limit for foreign sovereign wealth funds, central
banks and monetary authorities buying Chinese assets through the
Qualified Institutional Investor Programme (QFII).
The official China Securities Journal reported on Monday
that the country's securities regulator is discussing measures
to reduce the requirements needed for mainland Chinese firms to
list in Hong Kong, in part to relieve the pent-up demand for
On Monday, growth-sensitive energy-related plays on the
mainland were at the forefront of gains, with coal producers
featuring strongly after China Coal Energy Co Ltd
posted a 39 percent rise in coal sales
volume in November from a year earlier.
Shares of China Coal, the country's second-largest coal
producer, rose 2.2 percent in Shanghai and 0.1 percent in Hong
Kong. Its smaller rival, Yangquan Coal jumped 6.8
percent in Shanghai.
Chinese oil giants were strong in onshore markets, but
weaker in offshore markets, narrowing the outperformance of its
H-shares on the year.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec)
shed 1.8 percent in Hong Kong, where its
shares are up 4.7 percent for the year, but rose 1.2 percent in
Shanghai, where its shares are still down 7.8 percent for the
PROFIT TAKING HITS HONG KONG
Losses in Hong Kong were further aggravated by weakness in
large-cap stocks, which have been key beneficiaries of fund
inflows into the territory's stock markets over the past few
HSBC shares, which hit their highest level since
June 2011 last Friday, fell 0.7 percent, and Chinese internet
giant Tencent Holdings, which set a record high last
month, was off 0.9 percent.
Chinese property shares, most of which have outperformed the
broader Hong Kong and onshore China market, fell after the same
Xinhua report said Beijing would maintain controls on the sector
in the new year.
China Overseas Land shed 1.3 percent in Hong Kong,
cutting its 2012 gains to 81 percent. Poly Real Estate
lost 2.5 percent in Shanghai, shaving its 2012 gains
to 51 percent.
Shares of AIA Group were suspended from trading
after American International Group launched a $6.5
billion offering of its remaining stake in the Asian insurer.