China shares mark best day in two weeks, financials strong

HONG KONG, Jan 28 (Reuters) - China shares posted their best gain in two weeks on Monday, led by strength in the banking sector as investors welcomed comments from a senior central bank official that were seen as a tacit admission that bank profits need to be protected.

The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings closed up 3.1 percent at 2,651.9. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.4 percent. Monday's gains were their best daily showing since Jan. 14.

In comments carried in multiple Chinese newspapers, Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the central bank, said deliberations over the pace of interest rate easing must consider banks' profitability and ability to replenish capital, because they affect credit supply for the whole economy.

Investors also cheered a plan to double the number of A-share listings eligible for short selling or margin trading, bolstering shares of Chinese brokerages. (Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Richard Borsuk)