A senior Shanghai official yesterday underscored the difficulties of launching the Shanghai’s international board, contradicting earlier reports that the first foreign firms may be allowed to float shares before the end of the year, the South China Morning Post reported. Regulators must take into account A-share market sentiment, liquidity and trading rules before launching the debut of the much-anticipated board for foreign firms, said Fang Xinghai, the director general of Shanghai’s financial services office. “If you ask me why it’s so difficult [to launch the board], all I can say is that it’s always been difficult to implement any liberalization in the finance sector. But I still believe we will eventually overcome the difficulties,” he said. The board, which will allow top foreign companies to raise renminbi funds and help build Shanghai into a global financial hub, has been in planning for around a decade but has been delayed for many times, often without an explicit reason.