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Securities watchdog calls for more quake relief efforts
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China's securities regulators have called upon the industry to do more to minimize the impact of last week's earthquake and to maintain normal market operations, the official China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday.

At a working conference of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Shang Fulin, head of the watchdog, asked all securities and futures firms as well as local supervisory bodies to put the safety of investors and staff first. Off-site transactions via the internet and telephone therefore should be actively encouraged by brokers.

Meanwhile, the regulator will work with local government agencies to assess damage to the securities buildings and trading network. All exchanges and clearing organizations should spare no effort in assisting reconstruction of the trading system in the disaster-hit regions.

According to Shang, the industry's supervisors should also continue to follow market movements closely and urge quake-hit public firms to disclose information in time. Intermediate agencies should also provide normal financial services for investors during the special period.

The mainland stock market has remained stable since the earthquake last Monday, as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index stayed around the 3,500-point level. Market analysts believe that the quake, although affecting some local firms, would not alter China's overall economic direction.

Statistics quoted by the newspaper showed that as of May 18, operations at 97 out of 194 securities and futures outlets in Sichuan Province remained suspended due to the earthquake. Of the 66 listed companies whose stock trading had been ceased after the quake, 59 went back onto the transaction list.

(Chinadaily.com.cn May 20, 2008)

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