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Trade figures lift index

SHANGHAI'S market closed higher today, lifted by the banking sector and heavyweights, as January imports and exports surged, showing more signs for economic recovery.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.14 percent, or 33.66 points, to close at 2,982.50 points. Turnover was 67 billion yuan (US$9.8 billion). Gainers outnumbered losers 733 to 129, and 54 shares remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, added 1.54 percent to close at 1,117.40 points.

China's imports climbed 85.5 percent to US$95.3 billion from a year ago, signaling increasing strengthen in domestic demand while exports rose 21 percent to US$204.8 billion in a second monthly rise, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.

"January's macroeconomic statistics, which is set to be announced today, will have a large effect on how the market will be in the last two days of trading ahead of the Lunar New Year's holiday, and it's very likely the index will rebound after the holiday break with more positive statistics," Zhongyuan Securities' Zhang Gang wrote in a research note.

Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said during a bankers' meeting in Sydney yesterday that the People's Bank of China is keeping its rate steady and commercial banks should decide their own lending rates, easing previous concern of an interest rate lift in the near future.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank added 1.34 percent to 19.68 yuan. Bank of Communications was up 0.74 percent to 8.19 yuan. China Merchants Bank rose 1.44 percent to 15.53 yuan.

Real estate developers also recovered from earlier losses. Poly Real Estate Group advanced 2.20 percent to 19.05 yuan. China Vanke Co, the biggest listed domestic real estate developer, rose 1.32 percent to 9.21 yuan. Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co Ltd added 1.13 percent to 22.40 yuan.

Car makers sold 1.66 million vehicles in China last month, a 124 percent jump from a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said yesterday. SAIC Motor Corp, the country's largest auto maker, rallied 3.40 percent to 20.67 yuan.

Metal producers also lifted up the index. Yunnan Copper Co jumped 2.39 percent to 25.29 yuan. Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd rose 0.73 percent to 12.39 yuan. Zhongjin Gold Mining Co was up 0.66 percent to 48.83 yuan.

PetroChina was up 0.63 percent to 12.84 yuan after crude oil added 2.6 percent to US$73.75 a barrel in New York yesterday. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner and also known as Sinopec, rose 1.47 percent to 11.03 yuan.


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