Hong Kong shares end higher as metal firms gain on stronger demand



* HSI +1.2%, HSCE +0.4%

* Tencent falls on Prosus' share sales

* Jiangxi Copper, China Nonferrous Mining gain more than 5%

SHANGHAI, April 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended higher on Thursday after metal firms were lifted by expectations of strong demand for raw materials, as the country ramps up vaccination efforts.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index .HSI was up 1.16% at 29,008.07 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index .HSCE gained 0.35% at 11,109.48.

** Leading the gains, metal producers such as Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd 0358.HK and China Nonferrous Mining Co Ltd 1258.HK rose 5.4% and 5.2%, respectively.

** As the economy recovers, sales of automobiles in China in March was expected to increase 66.8% from a year ago, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacture, boosting demand for metals.

** The Hang Seng tech index gained 0.07%, while heavyweight Tencent Holdings Ltd 0700.HK fell 1.5% after news that Prosus NV has sold 2% of shares in the company.

** China's main Shanghai Composite index .SSEC closed up 0.08%, while the blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 ended up 0.17%. ** China reported 24 new COVID-19 cases on April 7, with 11 of the new cases were local infections reported in the southwestern Yunnan province. ** The country had administered a total of 149.07 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, as of Wednesday.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index .MIAPJ0000PUS was firmer by 0.51%, while Japan's Nikkei index .N225 closed down 0.07%. ** At 0701 GMT, the yuan CNY=CFXS was quoted at 6.5484 per U.S. dollar, 0.07% weaker than the previous close of 6.5435.


Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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