ANALYSTS say the proposal by the Shenzhen stock exchange to lower the number of B shares in each lot from 2,000 to 100 will do little to boost trade by foreign investors - for whom B shares are intended. However, they said the smaller trading unit would make trades by domestic investors easier because less money would be needed for each transaction. The exchange is expected to make the change this month. Although B shares are traded by foreign investors, it has become increasingly common for domestic investors - supposedly restricted to A shares - to trade B shares. Shenzhen Securities and Exchange Commission deputy chief Liu Xinhua said Shenzhen B shares would be traded in board lots of 100 shares, from 2,000 shares. An official announcement on the date has yet to be made. Peregrine Brokerage China sales director Samson Chau said the move was designed to boost liquidity in Shenzhen's B-share market, where lack of liquidity has been a continuing problem. It has meant huge price swings are common and rarely reflect the company's economic performance. Shenzhen officials hope the change will attract a bigger pool of retail investors from the domestic market. In Shanghai, B shares already are traded in board lots of 100 shares, and brokers estimate that domestic investors make up a considerable portion of the market's B-share business. Brokers said it was difficult to quantify local participation in the B market, but some said it could be as much as half of Shanghai's B turnover. Unlike foreign investors who are mostly institutional investors and take B shares for the longer term, domestic investors largely are small punters with a shorter investment outlook. With the B-share market in the doldrums, Shenzhen securities officials hope the latest measures will extend its investor base. Also on its agenda is the official opening of the much-delayed Shenzhen Securities Clearing Co, formed on the basis of Shenzhen Securities Registrars Co. The new securities clearing system replaces the existing system, under which share settlements are handled by Shenzhen Securities Registrars and cash settlements are cleared by three foreign banks. When it begins operation, the clearing system will end the three-year era in which Hongkong Bank, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank acted as registration banks for Shenzhen B shares. The new system is expected to be in place this month, although an official announcement has not been made.