* HSI +0.6 pct, H-shares +1.2 pct, CSI300 +0.4 pct
* China banks lifted by AgBank, BoC 2012 earnings
* Sinopec lifted by new China fuel pricing system
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 27 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose on
Wednesday, supported by Chinese banks, after two of the "Big
Four" reported 2012 corporate earnings largely in line with
Bank of China (BoC) climbed 2 percent and
Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) gained 0.8 percent
after their net interest margins stayed steady in the fourth
quarter and their non-performing loan ratios remained largely
unchanged from 2011.
At 0335 GMT, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.6 percent,
with the China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese
listings in Hong Kong 1.2 percent higher.
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai
and Shenzhen listings was up 0.4 percent, while the Shanghai
Composite Index climbed 0.3 percent.
"Earnings from the Chinese banks were largely in line, as
with for most of companies that have reported, but longer term
issues to do with bad loans and interest rate liberalisation
remain," said Wang Ao-chao, UOB-Kay Hian's Shanghai-based head
"There might be another bounce for the sector's shares if
March inflation dips, but I would remain cautious," Wang added,
suggesting investors should remained defensively-positioned in
Shares of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China,
the country's largest rose 0.7 percent and Bank of
Communications, the country's fifth-largest, gained 1
percent ahead of their 2012 results later in the day.
Both ICBC and AgBank are marginally down on the year in Hong
Kong, while the rest of the top five Chinese banks are still
positive, with BoC the best performer, up more than 4 percent in
Of the 66 percent of Hong Kong-listed companies that have
posted 2012 earnings, more than half have underwhelmed
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, with the
energy and materials sector reporting the most disappointing
But on Wednesday, Chinese oil majors were buoyed by an
announcement that China will start a more flexible system for
pricing domestic fuel, the first major revamp for four years, to
help avoid shortages and tame consumption.
The new scheme should reverse years of losses for China's
oil refiners, analysts said, by increasing the link with world
crude prices and scrapping a rigid formula for altering prices
for oil products such as gasoline and diesel.
Shares of top state-owned refiner, China Petroleum and
Chemical Corp (Sinopec) climbed 2 percent. Bernstein
said Sinopec should benefit most from the reform and should see
the operating margin for its refining improve to 10-12 yuan
($1.6-$1.9) per barrel from 7 yuan in 2012.
PetroChina rose 1.1 percent, while CNOOC
was up 0.5 percent.