China stocks end higher as Beijing pledges to open financial sector further

SHANGHAI, April 11 (Reuters) - China stocks ended higher on Wednesday as the market welcomed Beijing's pledge to further open the country's financial sector to foreign investors, and as worries about a trade war with the United States showed signs of easing.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 percent, to 3,938.34 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent to 3,208.08.

Gains were led by banking and real estate firms.

China laid out a clearer timetable on Wednesday for opening its financial sector to more foreign investment by the end of 2018, as Beijing looks to fend off growing criticism from the United States and others that it unfairly limits competition.

That came a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to open the economy further to foreign investors and cut import tariffs on products including cars, helping cool fears over an escalating trade dispute with the United States.

Global rating agencies Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday that proposed U.S. tariffs will have limited direct impact on China's economy and a negotiated solution is most likely.

China's securities regulator announced earlier that it would quadruple daily quotas for stock connect schemes linking mainland and Hong Kong markets, but many saw limited impact as the move was widely expected ahead of the imminent MSCI inclusion.

Market reaction also appeared to be muted to data showing China's producer price inflation continued to cool in March, suggesting weaker earnings growth for some firms such as miners and raw materials producers but less margin pressure on companies in the middle of supply chains.

"Todays softer-than-expected inflation data are consistent with our view that cooling price pressures will open the door to further monetary easing in the coming quarters," Capital Economics wrote in a note. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Kim Coghill)