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Economist: Olympics not necessarily a boost to stock market
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The persistent woes of the country's equities market may not be linked to the ongoing Olympics, a Chinese economist said on Sunday, echoing voices from securities regulators.

Corrections of China's stock market had actually started as early as the second half last year, Yang Kaizhong, head of the Beijing Municipal Institute for Economic and Social Development, said at a press conference here.

He went on to argue that the Olympics may not necessarily improve the performance of equities, taking previous Games as a precedent.

There were indeed countries, such as the United States and the Republic of Korea, that saw a booming market in the year they hosted the Olympics, but there were also cases when the equities fell or went flat, such as during the 1992 Barcelona Games and the2000 Sydney Games, Yang said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.56 percent to 2,450.61 points on Friday, and the key index has tumbled nearly 60percent from its peak in October.

The heavy slump was a result of many factors, including the global credit crisis that led to a worldwide economic slowdown, price rises of resources such as oil and grain, and investor concerns over market liquidity following huge fundraising, Yang said.

However, he believed the Chinese economy maintained a steady growth, and expectations of half-year reports of many listed companies, which are due soon, remained good.

Values of some stocks might have been underestimated after this round of downward adjustment, and the market may take on a more upbeat performance later as investor confidence improved with the fall of crude prices and domestic inflation rate, he added.

An unidentified spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission blame on Friday the heavy slump on a need for internal correction, increasing uncertainties on the global markets and frequent natural disasters in China.

He also said the unsophisticated mechanism and structure of the country's equities market had worsened the situation and widened the range of the correction.

(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2008)

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