Shares jump on report China could scrap birth limits

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Shares in Chinese firms that make and sell baby products have jumped after a report said China is considering scrapping limits on the number of children a family can have.

Shares in Shanghai Aiyingshi, which has a chain of shops selling baby products, climbed 10%.

Xiamen Yanjan New Material, which makes material for nappies, also added 10%.

Bloomberg reported that China was investigating the impact of ending a policy of limiting family sizes.

That would end regulations which date back to 1979 when, in an effort to limit population growth, the one-child policy was introduced.

The policy was successful, but the social costs were high - families were fined for having additional children, and forced abortions and mass sterilisations were also used at times.

A traditional preference among Chinese parents for boys led to large numbers of girls being abandoned, placed in orphanages, sex-selective abortions or even cases of female infanticide.

Over the years Chinese officials became more concerned about slowing population growth and the ageing population, so the one-child policy was relaxed.

The country's fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world and well below the rate of 2.1 children per woman required to replace the population across generations.

By 2050, more than a quarter of the population will be over 65.

So, in 2016, the policy was relaxed to allow couples to have two children.

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