Trade data worries deflate index

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Shanghai stocks fell the most in six weeks yesterday ahead of today's release of China's trade data on concerns the European debt crisis may further slow growth in the country's exports.

The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.65 percent to end at 2,408.59 points yesterday, the biggest drop since March 28.

"The overseas markets fell on concerns Greece may be pushed out of the eurozone, which casts a shadow on the stock market," Damo Investment said in a note yesterday.

Heightened political tensions in Greece raised worries that the crisis in Europe may further slow Chinese export growth, as the region is the country's biggest export market.

Economists at ING Group adjusted downward the forecast for China's export growth in April to 4 percent, compared with the previous 8.5 percent.

Cargo shippers sank ahead of the release of April's trade data. China COSCO Holdings Co, Asia's biggest shipper, plunged 4.2 percent to 5.24 yuan (83 US cents), while its subsidiary COSCO Shipping Co fell 4.9 percent to 4.90 yuan. Zhongchang Marine Co lost 2.4 percent to 7.68 yuan.

Lenders also fell after the central bank drained 20 billion yuan from the money market on Tuesday through bill repurchase agreements. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, shed 0.9 percent to 4.38 yuan. China Construction Bank fell 0.8 percent to 4.71 yuan, and the Agricultural Bank of China lost 1.5 percent to 2.72 yuan.

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