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Index hits seven-week low

SHANGHAI'S key stock index fell more than 2 percent today to end at a seven-week low amid a gloomy outlook for exports next year.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.32 percent, or 72.45 points, to close at 3,050.52 points. Turnover rose to 99.5 billion yuan (US$14.57 billion) from 90.2 billion yuan on Monday. Losers outnumbered gainers 774 to 95 and 7 stocks remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was down 2.72 percent to close at 1,109.37 points.

China's exports next year may not recover to the level before the global financial crisis as the recovery is not stabilized yet and China is faces stiffer competition and further trade disputes, the Ministry of Commerce said today on its Website.

Zhou Xiaoyan, a commerce ministry officer, said on Monday that 19 countries and regions had launched 103 trade probes against Chinese products by the end of November. The number of cases and the amount involved hit a record high.

Steel producers led the declines after the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it would accelerate the elimination of outdated production and not approve new projects or expansions in the steel sector within three years to curb overcapacity.

Wuhan Iron and Steel Co tumbled 4.5 percent to 7.52 yuan. Angang Steel Co slumped 5.4 percent to 13.9 yuan. Baoshan Iron and Steel Co declined 0.7 percent to 8.44 yuan.

Lenders retreated on speculation that requirements may be increased to rein in asset bubbles. China Construction Bank Corp eased 1.7 percent to 5.74 yuan. China Merchants Bank Co withdrew 2.9 percent to 16.33 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank decreased 3.1 percent to 20.01 yuan.


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