THE Sino-British commission which controls the disposal of Hongkong's land will hold a long-awaited meeting tomorrow, raising optimism that relations strained by a six-month dispute over political reforms are easing. But there is still no indication that the higher-level body, the Joint Liaison Group (JLG), will be meeting soon. The Land Commission handles the largely uncontentious but highly profitable business of selling plots to property developers, proceeds from which are equally split between the Government and a fund set aside for the future Special Administrative Region. A commission meeting expected at the end of March failed to materialise and analysts said the setting of a date signalled improved relations since both sides called a truce last month to start negotiations on Hongkong's political future. The year's land programme is expected to be comparable to that of previous years, with about 50 hectares being made available for a mix of residential, commercial and industrial land, estimated to generate land premiums of about $24.5 billion. Hongkong's financial circles reacted with a major change of sentiment that triggered a reversal in the sliding fortunes of the Hang Seng index during the morning session. The index swung through 85 points on the Land Commission announcement, a rise of more than one per cent inside two hours. The index's property counter sub-index left utilities, hongs and banks standing with a rise of 38 points to 10,773, well ahead of the main index which was up just two points. Property tycoon and stock market investment guru Mr Li Ka-shing was the biggest beneficiary of the turn in sentiment at the close of trading. The share price of his property development flagship Cheung Kong rose 30 cents to $26.80 on the highest turnover of any share yesterday of more than $200 million. Welcoming the Land Commission meeting, the Deputy to the Governor, Sir David Ford, said: ''It's clearly very important that we do get on with these practical issues which affect the social and economic development of Hongkong.'' The director of the local branch of the New China News Agency, Mr Zhou Nan, said China supported an early resumption of the commission, as Beijing was consistently concerned about the livelihood and interests of Hongkong people. Despite the optimism, the British side is expected to have a rough ride in discussions on some special items in this year's programme, such as Container Terminal 9, which China insists is a matter that must come before the JLG. Although the terminal plan, included in last year's land programme, had been approved by the land body, the land lease was not granted before the end of the last financial year and therefore the plan has to be resubmitted. A department head of the Chinese State Council's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office, Mr Chen Zuo'er, yesterday reiterated that the project involved the awarding of a franchise rather than merely a land grant by the Land Commission. Another sticking point tomorrow will be the sandwich class housing scheme. Chinese adviser to the Land Commission Mr Lee Wai-ting has demanded that the Hongkong Government submit full details of the housing plan. Mr Lee said China had never opposed the scheme, but it was displeased with the Government's failure to consult Beijing in advance. Although the Land Commission appears to be back on track, the new goodwill does not stretch to the JLG, which is charged with preparing for a smooth handover of power in 1997. Its last round of talks in December ended in deadlock and a failure to produce a joint communique for the first time ever. A March meeting never materialised. British spokesman Mr Chris Osborne said China had still not agreed on dates for the next round, which under the usual timetable should be held in June. A JLG working group, held at deputy team leaders' level, is due to hold a regular meeting this week and Mr Osborne said any dates would be decided at this level. But he added: ''Don't hold your breath.''