07/16/2008, 00.00
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China’s economic slowdown has serious impact on Shanghai stock exchange

After a slowdown in growth is announced yesterday the Shanghai stock exchange has a turnover of 75.2 billion yuan. There are fears that real estate prices might collapse after the Olympics. For experts the government’s economic policies will be crucial.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 3.43 per cent on turnover of 75.2 billion yuan (US$ 11 billion) after the media announced a slowdown in growth.

In the first six months of this year, Shanghai’s economy grew by 10.3 per cent, down from 13 per cent in the first half of last year.

Key economic data scheduled to be released tomorrow are expected to show a similar trend in the national economy.

“Coastal areas are dominated by the export trade, which helped slow Shanghai's growth,” Deutsche Bank chief economist Ma Jun said. “The first-half figure signals a further slowdown going forward.”

Despite its role as the mainland's financial and commercial hub, Shanghai felt the pinch of punishing increases in the cost of raw materials, labour and pollution control measures, as well as the country's inflation, rising yuan and losses due to recent heavy snow falls and the Sichuan quake.

Many experts are pessimistic, noting that the continent as a whole is going through a tough financial crisis with Asian stocks down, the region's benchmark index at the lowest since October 2006, with inflation often higher than the growth rate in some countries, and more and more companies unable to meet their debt repayment obligations.

They agree that the financial policies pursued by individual countries will play a crucial role, expecting Chinese authorities to provide some value-added tax rebates on certain exports and some tax support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Up to now the Olympic Games have driven economic growth but in September the real estate market might take a major dive with prices dropping.

A shroud of uncertainty also hovers over China’s monetary policy. To contain inflation the yuan’s appreciation and raising interest rates (six times in a year) have been useful. But for now Beijing might slow down currency appreciation and not intervene in the credit sector.

The great unknown remains the stock market because “there has just been a total collapse in confidence,” this according to Fan Dizhao, a Shanghai-based analyst at Guotai Asset Management Co

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