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Insurance and copper add steel to market

SHANGHAI'S key stock index rose today, led by insurers and copper producers, after the price of the metal surged.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 3.02 percent, or 65.03 points, to 2,218.33 points.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 3.89 percent, or 27.33 points, to 729.69 points.

Jiangxi Copper Co and Yunnan Copper Industry Co jumped by the 10 percent daily cap to 18.7 yuan and 15.26 yuan.

Copper futures for May delivery surged 5 percent to US$1.747 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday after February imports of the metal jumped to a record in China, the world's biggest buyer.

Imports of copper and alloys surged 55 percent from January, the Beijing-based customs office said yesterday.

China Cosco Holdings Co, the world's largest operator of dry-bulk ships, gained 3.56 percent to 10.75 yuan. China Shipping Development Co, the nation's biggest oil carrier, added 3.14 percent to 10.5 yuan.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities, fell to its lowest in almost two weeks. The index retreated 64 points, or 3 percent, to 2,058 points, according to the Baltic Exchange yesterday, the lowest since March 3.

Elsewhere, China Life, the nation's biggest insurer, advanced 2.53 percent 21.92 yuan after posting higher premium income.

Industrial Bank Co inched up 1.37 percent to 21.45 yuan after saying it plans to raise as much as 50 billion yuan (US$7.3 billion) selling bonds to boost lending.

China Eastern Airlines Corp, the nation's third-largest carrier by fleet size, was reportedly to have received an 11 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) credit line from China Construction Bank Corp. The stock increased 3.06 percent to 4.71 yuan.


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