China shares ended lower on Thursday, erasing earlier gains after data showing falling factory gate prices and weak consumer inflation in September underscored persistent challenges facing the economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. ** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.26% at 3,332.18. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.17%. ** Industrial firms weighed on the broader index, falling 0.92% after factory gate prices fell at a faster-than-expected pace in September and consumer inflation slowed to its weakest in 19 months, indicating continued challenges facing the Chinese economy. ** Adding to concerns over Sino-U.S. tensions, Reuters reported that the Trump administration is considering adding China’s Ant Group to a trade blacklist before its high-profile dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong. ** Financial shares. which had helped to prop up gains earlier in the session following a rise in bank loans, trimmed their advances to end up 0.52%. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.71% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.951%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.2%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.51%, with sentiment hurt by a surge in global COVID-19 cases, elusive U.S. stimulus and Sino-U.S. tensions. ** At 0711 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.725 per U.S. dollar, 0.17% weaker than the previous close of 6.7136. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 9.2% and the CSI300 has risen 17.1%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 12.4%. Shanghai stocks have risen 3.55% this month.