Chinese shares rose 2.84 percent Monday, advancing for a third consecutive day to a nearly eight-month high, on hopes that the economy had outperformed expectations in the first quarter.
Premier Wen Jiabao told reporters in Thailand Saturday that the economy showed signs of better-than-expected changes during the first quarter as a result of the economic stimulus package.
The National Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to release first-quarter growth data Thursday, which are expected to demonstrate a recovery in the world's fastest-growing economy.
Data already announced have been positive. The central bank said over the weekend that new loans increased 1.89 trillion yuan (about 278 billion U.S. dollars) in March, the third straight month that new loans exceeded 1 trillion yuan.
Economists said the March figure indicated that China's liquidity was abundant, which was crucial to an economic recovery.
Wen said industrial output rose 8.3 percent in March, up from a record low of 3.8 percent in the first two months of the year.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index reacted to the positive news and closed at 2,513.7 points, up 69.48 points. The Shenzhen Component Index was up 2.08 percent, or 194.36 points, to 9539.8.
Gains outnumbered losses by 616 to 205 in Shanghai and 532 to 173 in Shenzhen.
Combined turnover rose to 280.46 billion yuan from 239.98 billion yuan the previous trading day.
Coal producers led gains Monday on speculation that coal prices might be raised. The country's largest coal producer, China Shenhua Energy, and six other producers, surged by the daily limit of 10 percent.
Steel stocks gained on hopes of more demand as industrial output picked up. Baoshan Iron & Steel, the nation's top steel maker, rose 4 percent to 5.97 yuan.
PetroChina went up 4 percent to 11.94 yuan and Sinopec rose 5.34 percent to 9.47 yuan on news that the country might soon announce details on a stimulus package for the petrochemical sector.
Shipping lines and other cargo carriers gained broadly on anticipation of an economic recovery. China Cosco rose by the daily limit of 10 percent to 12.87 yuan. China Shipping Development climbed 10 percent to 13.08 yuan. China Southern Airlines, one of the nation's three major carriers, rose 6.22 percent to 6.15 yuan.
Securities analysts expressed optimism about continued gains in the near term. Shanghai-based Shiji Investment said in a report that heavyweights had showed signs of robust performance and the market may rise to new highs.
Analysts at Huaxun, an on-line financial information service, said the market would find support at about 2,450 to 2,470 on buoyant confidence, with investors anticipating a recovery.
(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2009)