* SSEC +0.6%, CSI300 +0.4% Gains led by agriculture, steel firms
* Property sector falls on tax talks
SHANGHAI, May 12 (Reuters) - China shares ended higher on Wednesday, rising the most in more than three weeks, with agriculture and steel stocks leading gains, as demand surges on sustained upbeat economic momentum.
** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.61% at 3,462.75, its biggest single-day jump since April 19, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.43%.
** Leading the gains, the healthcare sub-index and the agriculture sub-index were both up 1.79%, while the consumer staples sector gained 1.06%.
** Gansu Jiu Steel Group Hongxing Iron & Steel Co Ltd were among the largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index by rising the daily limit of 10%.
** Vehicle sales in China rose 8.6% in April versus the same month a year earlier, their 13th consecutive month of gains, as the world’s biggest car market leads the sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
** The real estate index fell 1.53% after Beijing held a meeting about property tax to curb speculation in the housing market. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.9% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.34%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.84%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.61%. ** At 07:04 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.4404 per U.S. dollar, 0.19% weaker than the previous close of 6.4283. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)