[SHANGHAI] Shanghai shares closed up 4.92 per cent on Monday on speculation of a broad overhaul of state-owned enterprises after weak economic figures released over the weekend, dealers said.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 184.22 points to 3,928.42 on turnover of 652.6 billion yuan (US$106.7 billion).
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, jumped 4.49 per cent, or 97.69 points, to 2,274.84 on turnover of 574.8 billion yuan.
China is planning to combine two major state-owned shipping companies - China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co, known as Cosco, and China Shipping (Group) Co - or merge some of their businesses, Bloomberg News reported, quoting people familiar with the matter.
Several listed arms of the two giants halted trading in their shares on Monday in both Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as in Hong Kong, where some are also listed.
"State-owned enterprise mergers are an investment theme that's quite certain and there are signs that the move will speed up," Li Jingyuan, general manager at Shanghai Zhaoyi Asset Management, told Bloomberg News.
"Foreign investors pay more attention to economic data and fundamentals, while local investors are more sensitive to policies," Mr Li said.
The merger speculation, which Bloomberg News said comes as part of a broader overhaul of inefficient state-run companies designed to bolster growth, outshone weak economic data released over the weekend.
China's foreign trade performance worsened in July with both exports and imports falling more than eight per cent on an annual basis, customs said on Saturday.
Consumer inflation accelerated slightly to 1.6 per cent in July, compared to 1.4 per cent in June, official data showed on Sunday, although analysts warned the slow rise in prices is still a risk for China's economy.
"Though the economy as a whole is not performing quite well, it may lead to more loosening of monetary policy," Zhang Qi, an analyst from Haitong Securities, told AFP.
"There might also be more state investment and reform of state-owned enterprises."