Chinese shares rise strongly

SHANGHAI: Chinese shares rose strongly Monday, buoyed by hopes that stronger purchasing order data mean the economy may be recovering from its slowdown.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 82.34 points, or 3.3 percent, to close at 2,559.91. The Shenzhen Composite Index for the country's smaller, second exchange jumped 3.7 percent to 859.62.

China's monthly survey of purchasing managers for more than 700 manufacturers - a key indicator - rose to 53.5 in April from March's 52.4, the government-sanctioned China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing reported Friday, when Chinese markets were closed for May Day.

Analysts said the report, the second month of growth, suggests the economy is gaining strength as consumer demand and exports improve. The report also helped lift other Asian markets.

"The higher PMI index indicates a revival. Investors expect to see better economic figures for April," said Zhang Xiang, an analyst for Guodu Securities in Beijing.

Investors were also encouraged by a report forecasting that the Chinese economy will expand 7 percent in April-June over a year earlier.

Resources shares, which are closely linked to economic cycles, led the rally.

Datong Coal Industry Co. and Kailuan Clean Coal Ltd. both surged by the daily maximum of 10 percent - Datong to 30.97 yuan, and Kailuan to 26.85 yuan.

Oil heavyweights jumped after crude oil climbed to $53.49 in Asia. PetroChina Ltd., Asia's biggest oil and gas producer, gained 3.2 percent to 11.94 yuan, while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

added 3.6 percent to 10.11 yuan.

Steel makers were boosted by rising new orders. Xinjiang Bayi Iron & Steel Ltd. hit the daily 10 percent limit at 8.55 yuan, while Liuzhou Iron & Steel Co. soared 9.9 percent to 4.98 yuan.

Jiangxi Copper Ltd., China's second-largest metal producer, jumped 6.1 percent to 25.70 yuan, while Aluminum Corp. of China, gained 4.1 percent to 10.77 yuan.

In currency markets, the yuan weakened to 6.8200 to the U.S.

dollar, down from Friday's close of 6.8191.