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Export figures cast gloom over market

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed lower today as China's lower export figures gave the economy a continuous gloomy outlook.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.91 percent, or 19.54 points, to close at 2,139.03 points. Turnover was 88.1 billion yuan (US$12.88 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 546 to 312 and 50 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, dipped 0.59 percent to close at 695.70 points.

China's exports in the past month plunged 25.7 percent to US$64.89 billion, the fourth straight monthly decline and imports were down 24.1 from the same period last year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Banks reversed the gains of today's first half. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, dipped 0.54 percent to 3.70 yuan. China Construction Bank lost 0.49 percent to 4.09 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank lowered 1.80 percent to 18.59 yuan.

Copper futures for May delivery jumped 2.7 percent in New York yesterday and China's total imports of the metal in the past month grew 42 percent from the previous year to 329,311 tons. Jiangxi Copper Ltd edged 0.80 percent to 16.84 yuan. Yunnan Copper Co Ltd lowered 1.53 percent to 13.50 yuan.

Steel producers were among the gainers amid speculation that the export tax refund would be raised. Baoshan Iron and Steel Co, China's biggest steel maker, edged up 0.74 percent to 5.44 yuan. Maanshan Iron and Steel Co rallied 4.93 percent to 3.83 yuan. Xinjiang Ba Yi Iron & Steel Co Ltd added 2.97 percent to 7.62 yuan.

Gemdale Corp said its February property sales more than doubled from January to 1.17 billion yuan. Its shares tumbled 3.64 percent to 8.73 yuan. China Vanke Co, the nation's largest listed real estate developer, lost 1.41 percent to 7.70 yuan. China Merchants Property Development Co was down 3.27 percent to 19.20 yuan.

Guangzhou Shipyard International Co, one of the units of China's biggest shipbuilder, said its 2008 net income fell 13 percent to 820 million yuan. The stock lost 1.50 percent to 17.75 yuan.

Shanghai Bashi Industrial Group Co, the city-controlled bus company, said it would sell 1.11 billion shares to Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Its shares increased 1.62 percent to 6.27 yuan.


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