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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Karachi shares steady after quake
Demolished building in Pakistan
The rebuilding effort in Pakistan will be extensive
Pakistan's benchmark stock index has opened slightly lower on Monday amid optimism that the economy will not be damaged by the weekend's earthquake.

Karachi's KSE-100 index lost 21.68 points, or 0.3%, to 8,520.72. The start to trading was delayed an hour to mourn those killed in the quake.

At least 20,000 people are thought to have died in the earthquake.

Pakistan has appealed for international help and has received offers of aid and financial support.

Limited economic effect

The economy is expected to expand by about 7% this year and observers said that despite the weekend's tragedy, growth should remain on track.

WORST-HIT AREAS
Pakistani-run Kashmir: At least 17,000 dead
Pakistan's North-West Frontier province: At least 1,600 dead
Islamabad: At least 25 dead
Indian-run Kashmir: At least 600 dead

Most of the damage was away from Pakistan's manufacturing and financial centres, limiting the effect on the economy, analysts said.

Karachi's stock exchange has performed strongly so far this year, adding 32% since 1 January after the government laid out plans for privatisation and the opening up of internal markets.

The earthquake, which hit at 0350 GMT on Saturday, is thought to have been the strongest earthquake in the region in a century.

Some of the worst hit areas are in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and the country's North-West frontier province, with a number of towns and villages completely flattened.


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