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China shares extend losses to five consecutive weeks

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BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese equity markets weakened further Friday to extend a decline of the benchmark index to five consecutive weeks after the government reiterated its intention of maintaining tight control over the property market.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index at one point touched a six-month low of 2,138.79 during trading this week before losing 16.2 points, or 0.74 percent, to close at 2,168.64 points Friday.

The Shenzhen Component Index tumbled 176.27 points, or 1.85 percent, to close the week's trading at 9,333.21 points.

Investors' appetite for risky assets disappeared after the Ministry of Land and Resources and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development jointly issued an emergency statement reiterating that local governments are not allowed to loosen property market controls.

Fewer shares changed hands, with a combined turnover of 109.64 billion yuan (17.37 billion U.S. dollars), compared with 135.13 billion yuan on Thursday.

Losers outnumbered gainers by 661 to 258 in Shanghai and 1,012 to 420 in Shenzhen.

The property sector dropped again after the central government's latest remarks on the housing market. Vanke, China's largest property developer by market value, fell 1.48 percent to close at 9.3 yuan per share. Poly Estate moved down 1.82 percent to close at 11.35 yuan. China Merchants Property slumped 2.95 percent to close at 23.72 yuan. The Gemdale Group declined 2.16percent to 5.89 yuan.

The central government's latest statement dampened hopes for looser controls over the housing market to spur a slowing economy.

Energy companies were weak, as investors feared the current economic slowdown will reduce the country's demand for coal and oil. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, dipped 0.22 percent to 8.98 yuan even though global oil prices rebounded.

Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner, skid 0.65 percent to 6.08 yuan. China Shenhua, the country's largest coal producer, fell 1.76 percent to 22.25 yuan. China Coal went down 0.64 percent to 7.73 yuan.

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