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Hong Kong shares may start higher; China money rates concerns linger

Sunday, 27 Oct 2013 | 9:10 PM ET

HONG KONG, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start higher on Monday after a top Chinese leader reportedly promised "unprecedented" economic and societal reforms at the Communist Party's much anticipated plenum meeting next month.

But investors will be cautiously watching China's short-term money rates as the month draws to a close, after the central bank moved to limit supply as demand spikes. Money rates last week spiked to their highest levels since June's dramatic cash crunch.

The official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday that Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth-ranked member in the elite Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, said the closed-door meeting would "principally explore the issue of deep and comprehensive reforms".

China Telecom, Anhui Conch Cement and COSCO Pacific are among companies due to report quarterly earnings later in the day.

The Hang Seng Index finished down 0.6 percent on Friday at 22,698.3 points, its lowest close since Sept. 6, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong fell 1.4 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.1 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 0057 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Shanghai will increase the supply of affordable housing following home price rises in September, Vice Mayor Yang Xiong said on Sunday.

* China has eliminated some registered capital requirements for establishing new companies, the government said on Sunday, in a move to support long-term growth by cutting red tape and supporting small businesses.

* China Construction Bank Corp , the country's No.2 lender, reported its slowest third-quarter earnings growth in more than five years on Sunday, as increased loan-loss provisions eroded profits.

* The trading arm of China's Guangzhou city government is to buy three quarters of Hong Kong's Chong Hing Bank Ltd for about HK$11.64 billion ($1.5 billion), underscoring the island's attraction for mainland and foreign lenders alike.

* China's Dongfeng Motor Group is still weighing the benefits of investing in loss-making PSA Peugeot Citroen , a top Dongfeng executive said, hinting that a deal with the French carmaker could take a long time.

* China Life Insurance Co Ltd , the world's biggest insurer by market value, swung to a third-quarter profit of 7.5 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) from a loss a year earlier. Smaller rival Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd more than doubled its profit.

* China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd , the country's largest coal producer, posted a 22 percent drop in third-quarter net profit, due to weak coal prices caused by ample supplies and flagging demand.

* China Railway Construction Corp Ltd said its units won projects in Sichuan province worth 15.58 billion yuan ($2.6 billion).

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