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Key stock index falls on dismal exports

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed lower yesterday as China's falling export figures indicated that the economy is still in a gloomy situation.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.91 percent, or 19.54 points, to close at 2,139.03. Turnover totaled 88.1 billion yuan (US$12.88 billion), against 69.2 billion yuan on Tuesday. Losers outnumbered gainers 546 to 312 and 50 shares were unchanged.

Exports plunged 25.7 percent to US$64.89 billion in February, the fourth straight monthly decline, and imports crashed 24.1 percent from the same period last year, the General Administration of Customs announced yesterday.

"The index would face much pressure if it continues to rebound and we suggest 2,000 points to be a low point in the short term," according to a research note by Shenyin & Wanguo Securities.

Banks were among decliners, with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, dipping 0.54 percent to 3.70 yuan.

Property firms hit

China Construction Bank lost 0.49 percent to 4.09 yuan and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank shed 1.8 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 rose 42 percent from the previous year to 329,311 tons. Jiangxi Copper Ltd edged 0.8 percent to 16.84 yuan and Yunnan Copper Co Ltd lost 1.53 percent to 13.5 yuan.

Gemdale Corp said its February property sales more than doubled from January to 1.17 billion yuan but its shares still fell 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.

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 and Xinjiang Ba Yi Iron & Steel Co Ltd added 2.97 percent to 7.62 yuan.


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