Apr. 22 - The stock market is not likely to slump on Monday because of Saturday's magnitude-7 earthquake in Ya'an, Sichuan province, experts say.
"There are fewer than 10 publicly traded companies located around Ya'an. Chengdu-based agricultural company New Hope Group, for example, which has a number of projects in Sichuan, has reported some losses, but these are very limited. So far, only one company listed on the growth enterprise market has reported big losses. Luckily, most of these companies do not have their headquarters in that area," said Wang Jianhui, chief economist at Southwest Securities Co Ltd.
But the market will be slightly affected by geographical and psychological considerations, Wang said. The tourism and catering industries will be hit hard, especially during the May Day holiday, when traffic will be restricted for the sake of quake relief.
"The market is already at a historic low now. The impact on the stock market will be smaller than it was with the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan," said Zhang Qi, an analyst at Haitong Securities Co Ltd in Shanghai.
The Shanghai Composite Index did not react immediately to the Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008. On the day after the earthquake, the index did not drop much, closing at 3,560.24 points, down by 1.84 percent. A week later, on May 20, more than 100 stocks plummeted by more than 10 percent.
Similarly, the index remained slack for a considerable period after the magnitude-7.1 earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai province, dropping from 3,166.18 points on April 14, 2010, to 2,362.95 on July 5 that year. But a property market regulation policy was introduced around that time, Zhang said, and it contributed to the decline.
He suggested that other factors than earthquakes should be considered in analyzing the market performance in China.
"Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group Co Ltd, listed on the Shenzhen Component Index, is the only public company in Ya'an. It specializes in the production of blasting equipment. Over the short term, it might be able to seek some growth because of post-quake reconstruction of the city," he said.
Cement, construction materials and other sectors related to post-quake reconstruction might see growth. But tourism, especially in Sichuan, will inevitably be affected, Zhang said.
Most companies in Ya'an are not large-scale, and industries are mainly clustered in cities such as Chengdu and Mianyang, so the earthquake will not greatly affect the province's economy, nor the country's, he added.
In an online survey conducted on Sunday by Hexun.com, a leading Chinese business website, more than half of the respondents thought the earthquake would have little long-term affect on the stock market. But 47 percent expected it would dip on the first trading day after the earthquake.