Hong Kong shares close at three-week high on property gains
Hong Kong shares hit a three-week high on Wednesday, as property and banking stocks continued to rise after China's central bank urged mainland lenders to speed up the granting of home loans.
The Hang Seng Index ended up 1.0 percent at 22,582.77 points, its highest close since April 22. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong was up 1.4 percent.
China's central bank asked commercial banks on Monday to speed up the granting of home loans and to set mortgage rates at reasonable levels, in a bid to stabilise the mainland's increasingly wobbly housing market.
China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd jumped 4.1 percent and China Resources Land Ltd gained 6.0 percent. The Hang Seng property index was up 1.8 percent.
Chinese bank shares also rose, with Bank of China Ltd up 1.8 percent, and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd 2.1 percent.