Stocks fall on inflation concerns

By Zhang Shidong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-16 10:03
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SHANGHAI - China's stocks fell for the first time in four days on concern accelerating inflation will spur the government to further tighten monetary policy.

Air China Ltd slid 0.84 percent after an industry group said slower global economic growth and rising fuel costs may hurt profits for airlines.

China Shenhua Energy Co and Yanzhou Coal Mining Co climbed at least 1.3 percent on speculation that colder-than-usual weather will boost coal demand.

"Inflationary pressure still exists in China and that's an overhang for the market," said Zhang Kun, a strategist at Guotai Junan Securities Co in Shanghai. "No rate increase at the moment doesn't mean the central bank won't do that in the future."

The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.54 percent to 2911.41 at the market close.

The CSI 300 Index lost 0.67 percent to 3247.64. Stocks extended losses after Moody's Investors Service said it put Spain's Aa1 local and foreign currency government bond ratings on review for possible downgrade.

A gauge of developers fell 1.2 percent in the Shanghai Composite, the most among the five industry groups.

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Vanke slid 0.71 percent to 8.35 yuan ($1.25) on Wednesday. Poly Real Estate dropped 1.98 percent to 12.38 yuan. Gemdale Corp lost 1.33 percent to 5.92 yuan.

Chinese consumers signaled their deepest concern about inflation since 1999, according to a survey from the central bank. The People's Bank of China survey of 20,000 people in 50 cities showed 74 percent considered prices too high, 15.6 percentage points more than in the third quarter, the bank said on its website on Wednesday.

Air China, the nation's largest international carrier, slid 0.84 percent to 13.05 yuan. The airline carried 8.3 percent more passengers in November than a year earlier, the slowest growth in at least five months, its data showed.

A gauge of energy producers advanced 0.8 percent for the biggest gain among the 10 industry groups in the CSI 300.

Shenhua, the nation's largest coal producer, rose 1.33 percent to 25.19 yuan, while Yanzhou Coal, the listed unit of China's fourth-biggest coal miner, rallied 1.78 percent to 29.75 yuan.

Beijing News reported on Wednesday that the temperature in the Chinese capital dropped to as low as -10.9 C, a 10-year low. China's domestic coal prices typically increase during winter because of heating needs.

Kweichow Moutai Co led gains for consumer staples producers, rising 1.41 percent to 200.70 yuan.

Deutsche Bank AG advised investors to focus on select consumer staples companies, saying China's higher inflation and government price controls may affect "overall sentiment" toward the industry.

Bloomberg News