Business / Economy

Tough times for China's exports warned

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily) Updated: 2012-05-18 09:28

A senior commerce official has given a gloomy forecast for China's foreign trade amid Europe's ongoing debt crisis and a slowdown in emerging economies that will undercut demand for Chinese products.

"Global demand is slack, and there cannot be a change for the better in a short time," said Jiang Fan, deputy director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade with the Ministry of Commerce, on Thursday.

Since late last year, China's export growth has been slowing. Overseas shipments rose a mere 4.9 percent year-on-year in April, compared with 8.9 percent in March, according to the General Administration of Customs.


From January to April, exports grew just 6.9 percent to $593.2 billion.

 Tough times for China's exports warned

"The figures show there is intense downward pressure on foreign trade," said Jiang.

Export orders signed at the spring session of the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China's largest trade show, fell 2.3 percent from a year earlier, data from the organizers show.

It was the first decline for the semiannual event's spring session since 2009.

Shen Danyang, the ministry's spokesman, told a regular monthly news briefing on Tuesday that China's foreign trade situation will remain severe in the coming months.

But Shen said that the situation is "neither pessimistic, nor optimistic".

"If the world economy didn't deteriorate and there was no big reversion in global demand, China's foreign trade this year would be on the track of low growth at the beginning, stable mild growth in the middle and high growth in the end," the spokesman added.

China has set a target of 10 percent growth in its foreign trade this year, and Shen said Chinese officials are "confident of achieving the goal".

But Europe's unresolved debt problems, a still-fragile US economy and deteriorating conditions in emerging markets threaten China's exports, said Jiang.

Growth in China's shipments to the United States slowed to 10 percent in April from 14 percent in March, while exports to the EU fell 2.4 percent in April, following a decline of 3.1 percent in March.

"If the eurozone falls into a deep recession, and that in turn slows US growth," China's export growth will be affected, said a report by ANZ Greater China.

But at the news briefing, Shen said the good thing about the current situation is that China's foreign trade is "turning more balanced".

In April, exports of high-tech and high value-added goods recorded big gains, with exports of automatic data processing equipment, wireless telephones and components and valuable metals growing by 10.6, 28.3 and 134 percent year-on-year.

During the same month, exports of labor-intensive goods slid. Shipments of textiles and garments dropped 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

China is also seeking to sell more goods to emerging markets this year. From January to April, exports to Russia, Brazil, Thailand and Indonesia gained by 14.3, 13.3, 20 and 11.3 percent year-on-year.

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