China's promise to help Europe out of its financial woes lifted stock markets across Asia yesterday, but its own market continued to underperform the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.9 per cent to 127.34 points, a half-year peak, after the People's Bank of China said Beijing was ready to be more involved in resolving the European crisis through the European Financial Stability Facility and European Stability Mechanism. Mainland stocks in Hong Kong rose 2.39 per cent, outpacing the 2.14 per cent gain in the Hang Seng Index. However, the Shanghai Composite Index edged up only 0.94 per cent, meaning that the mainland's A shares continued to trade lower than their H-share counterparts in Hong Kong. Joseph Tong Tang, an executive director of Sun Hung Kai Financial, said the A-H share premium was unlikely to see a reversal as there was little chance of the mainland government speeding up the opening of its capital markets to foreign investors. Stability remained the top priority of the government, Tong said, so it would continue to be careful not to open the floodgates to international capital - despite the weak performance of mainland stocks due to the liquidity squeeze. He also said H shares were attractive to investors not only because of their prices, but also because they offered other industry choices, compared with the Hang Seng Index. The Hang Seng's rise yesterday was led by the property sector, as the market expected home prices to rebound when the euro-zone debt crisis eased. Brokers said the market was regaining confidence despite the fact that it had swung in and out of negative territory after Moody's Investors Service downgraded the debt ratings of six European countries. The HSI Volatility Index yesterday declined 2.88 per cent, meaning traders expected less volatility in the next 30 trading days.