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China Market gains 1.04%
(16:52, 15 Mar 2019)
Headline indices of the Mainland China equity market closed higher on Friday, 15 March 2019, as risk sentiments underpinned after Premier Li Keqiang vowed strong measures to boost slowing economic growth and as Beijing and Washington appeared to have made more progress in their trade talks. At closing bell, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.04%, or 31.07 points, to 3,021.75. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, rose 1.43%, or 23.11 points, to 1,641.37. The blue-chip CSI300 index climbed 1.26%, or 46.51 points, to 3,745.

Investors chased for value buying as Premier Li Keqiang pledged not to let economic growth fall below a reasonable range. China will not let economic growth slip out of a reasonable range amid downward pressure on its economy, Li said on Friday at a press conference marking the end of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress. The Chinese premier pledged strong measures to support growth, saying that the government could use tools such as reserve requirements and interest rates. Li added that China would cut value-added tax (VAT) for manufacturing and other sectors on April 1 and social security fees from May 1. Li's comments at the close of the annual parliament meeting came a day after China lowered its growth target to 6 to 6.5 percent for 2019, down from around 6.5 percent last year.

On the trade front, the Congress, China's parliament, voted on Friday to approve a new foreign investment law, which is designed to ease foreign concerns about China's investment environment, especially as China and the United States work to try to end a trade war. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, making further substantive progress on trade talks, as per reports.

CURRENCY NEWS: China's yuan recovered against the U.S. dollar on Friday. Prior to the market opening on Friday, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.7167 per dollar, 158 pips or 0.24 percent weaker than the previous fix of 6.7009. In the spot market, the onshore yuan opened at 6.7230 per dollar and eased to a low of 6.7301, the weakest level since Feb. 22. As of midday, the onshore spot yuan was changing hands at 6.7204, 36 pips firmer than the previous late session close but 0.06 percent softer the midpoint.

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