China Southern Airlines stock posted the sharpest decline in six months on the Shanghai stock exchange after its first-half profit slumped, Bloomberg reported. Shares fell 7.9% to close at RMB5.26 (US$0.77). The carrier’s shares also declined 3.9% on the Hong Kong stock market. China Southern did not benefit from fuel-hedging gains that boosted profits at competitors Air China and China Eastern, having closed all hedging positions last year. Though passenger numbers increased, profit was also hurt by the airline’s inability to repeat last year’s US$386 million foreign-exchange gain. Net income also dipped to US$3.7 million from US$120 million. First-half profits were boosted by a US$195 million refund from an infrastructure fund managed by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, but analysts warned that Beijing may stop providing financial aid to the airline sector soon.
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