[SHANGHAI] Chinese stocks rose for the first time in four days in Hong Kong amid speculation the government may accelerate reform of state-owned enterprises after PetroChina Co announced plans to sell a stake in a unit to bolster profits.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gained 1 per cent to 10,227.13 at 9.47am, led by energy and financial companies. PetroChina and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd advanced at least 1.4 per cent.
The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 per cent as volatility fell to eight-month lows and trading volumes continued to shrink.
Speculation has intensified the government will speed up SOE reform to combat the worst economic slowdown in a quarter of a century after it announced plans last month to reorganise the telecom industry and promote price reforms in the utilities sector. SOE profits dropped 9.8 per cent to 1.88 trillion yuan (S$408 billion) in the Jan-Oct period from a year earlier, the official Xinhua News Agency reported last week.
PetroChina, the biggest oil and gas producer, plans to sell its stake in a pipeline company for as much as 15.5 billion yuan.
PetroChina and its parent company, China National Petroleum Corp, are seeking to complete asset sales before the end of the year to help meet government-set annual profit goals, people with knowledge of situation said earlier this week.
The government is also looking to spin off oil and gas pipelines from its energy companies into independent businesses as part of a President Xi Jinping's sweeping overhaul of the country's SOEs.