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Chinese shares fall to 15-month low
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Chinese shares continued to fall to a 15-month low Friday as investors were still nervous about the inflationary pressure and tightening policy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, shed 3 percent to 2,868.8 points, declining for the eighth consecutive trading day. The key index has fallen nearly 53 percent from a record high in October.

The rare eight days of falling, which only appeared in the country's equities market in 1995 and 2001, indicated investors' confidence was really weak, a Guangfa Securities analyst said.

Although the country's May inflation indicator marked the first significant drop since last year, it did not bolster the market as the drop was within expectation and would not change the overall tightening policy, said market analysts.

The country's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, was up 7.7 percent in May over the same month last year. In April, it rose 8.5 percent after a 12-year high of 8.7 percent in February.

Meanwhile, there were worries the CPI would accelerate because of rising factory-gate prices, said analysts.

The Shenzhen Component Index lost 3.9 percent on Friday, or 403.42 points, to 9,936.73 points, the first time for the index to break the 10,000-point mark since April 19, 2007.

Combined turnover on the two bourses totaled 67.68 billion yuan(9.67 billion U.S. dollars).

All the top 20 market heavyweights reported losses, dragging down the key index. PetroChina, the largest index component, weakened 2.47 percent to 14.99 yuan, while Sinopec, Asia's top oil refiner, sank 2.26 percent to 11.26 yuan.

Shares in the property, financial and agriculture industries nearly all fell across the board, with China Vanke, the country's top real estate company, sliding nearly 5 percent and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country's biggest lender, slipping 2.31 percent.

(Xinhua News Agency June 14,2008)

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