Foreign trade tops $3t, bumpy road ahead

Updated: 2011-11-04 09:26


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BEIJING-- Although China's trade volume has surpassed a historic level of $3 trillion, analysts have forecast a grim trade outlook in light of growing global uncertainties.

China's import and export volume exceeded $3 trillion as of Wednesday, despite a complicated and gloomy global economic environment, the General Administration of Customs said, citing preliminary statistics.

According to the statistics, the country's foreign trade totaled $322.56 billion from Oct 1 to Nov 2 of this year. The figure was 31.76 percent higher compared with that of last October.

China has become the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer. Its foreign trade volume exceeded the symbolic 1-trillion-US-dollar mark in 2004 and breached $2 trillion in 2007.

In the first three quarters, the country's GDP grew 9.4 percent from a year earlier and foreign trade rose 24.6 percent year-on-year to $2.67 trillion.

Shen Danyang, a spokesman from the Ministry of Commerce, said the country's economic growth and trade volume expansion have played a positive role in powering the world's economic and trade development and will continue to make contributions in those areas.

However, Shen said he expects the country's foreign trade growth to retreat in the coming months because of a combination of various factors, including shrinking external demand and higher comparison bases from last year.

Wang Tao, an economist with UBS Securities, said she expects the annual growth rate for China's exports to fall to the single digits in the coming months. She also predicted that the exchange rate of the yuan will strengthen to $6.2 yuan per by the end of this year.

China's export growth slowed to 17.1 percent year-on-year in September, down from August's 24.5-percent growth rate, according to customs figures.

Imports in September climbed 20.9 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 30.2 percent year-on-year expansion seen in August.

The outlook for China's exports will be quite grim in 2012, with demand from the European Union and United States, both major trade partners of China, slackening and protectionism increasing, said Li Jian, a researcher at the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.