Stocks fall on weak housing price data


SHANGHAI stocks extended its losses from last week in the morning trade after the National Bureau of Statistics announced the biggest drop in housing prices for the sixth straight month in February.

The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.28 percent, or 6.68 points, to 2,398.06 by the noon break with a turnover of 55.8 billion yuan (US$8.8 billion).

The National Bureau of Statistics announced yesterday that housing prices, excluding government-funded affordable housing, fell in 45 of the 70 cities monitored by the bureau. Prices for new homes in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen went down 0.2 percent. Prices fell an average of 0.3 percent from January across the country, the biggest monthly drop since September.

Premier Wen Jiabao said at the National People's Congress meeting that closed last week that house prices are still far from reasonable levels and curbs cannot be relaxed.

"The game between central and local government will continue, however there's signs of softening mortgage rates," said Fortis Haitong Investment Management Co today. "Currently the developers are holding a record high stock level, while supply is still climbing, so more downward adjustment in prices is expected."

China Vanke Co, the nation's biggest property developer, slid 0.73 percent to 8.21 yuan. Poly Real Estate Group Co shed 1.29 percent to 10.68 yuan.

China's biggest cement company, Anhui Conch Cement Co, lost 1.12 percent to 15.94 yuan on possible trimming demand for its products due to a sluggish property market.


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