Hong Kong shares may start weaker as China Q2 GDP data looms
HONG KONG, July 15 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares were set to start the week weaker on Monday with investors bracing for a fall in China's second-quarter GDP growth, with data due at 0200 GMT, along with June data for retail sales, industrial output and urban investment.
Economists polled by Reuters expect growth to have slipped to 7.5 percent between April and June, down from 7.7 percent in the first three months of the year. A slew of anaemic data last week stoked fears of a weaker number.
The official Xinhua news agency on Saturday corrected a dispatch that quoted the finance minister as saying growth could be 7 percent this year, with that figure corrected to 7.5 percent.
China's total social financing aggregate, a broad measure of liquidity conditions that includes bank loans and bond sales, fell to 1.04 trillion yuan ($169.45 billion) in June, its lowest in nearly a year, from May's 1.19 trillion yuan, according to data released by the People's Bank of China after markets closed on Friday.
The Chinese central bank will "use a mix of price and quantitative policy tools to adjust liquidity in the banking system and guide steady and appropriate growth in money, credit and social financing", it said in a statement on its website on Sunday.
On Friday, the Hang Seng Index ended down 0.8 percent to 21,277.3 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 1.2 percent. However, the indices climbed 2 and 2.4 percent on the week respectively.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.9 percent at 0020 GMT. Japan's markets are closed for a public holiday.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* The United States won China's acknowledgement of U.S. concerns about cyber theft of intellectual property and commitments to limit subsidies to Chinese state-owned firms during high-level talks this week, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday.
* Datang International Power Generation Co Ltd said it entered an agreement with Xilinhaote Mining Co to purchase coal worth around 882 million yuan ($143.71 million) for a year starting January 1, 2013.
* Angang Steel said it expects to post a net profit of about 702 million yuan ($114.42 million) for the first six months of the year, reversing losses for the same period a year ago.
* Anton Oilfield said its operational plans for the third quarter include the addition of 10 2,000-model pressure pumping equipment and one 5,000-meter model rig. The company also plans to complete the issuance of a second tranche of medium-term notes amounting to 200 million yuan ($32.59 million).
* Shanghai Pharmaceuticals said some of its directors and senior officers purchased 34,318 of its Shanghai-listed shares priced between 10.68 and 11.45 yuan per share in the secondary market.($1 = 6.1375 Chinese yuan)