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Orders at Canton Fair signal weak export outlook

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

13:41, April 26, 2012

Growth in transactions at the country's largest trade fair has slowed to a crawl, sending gloomy signals for the export outlook.

Transactions totaled some $8.5 billion in the first phase of the fair, up just 1.1 percent over the previous session, said sources with the organizing committee of the ongoing China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair.

The fair's first phase, which ran from April 15 to 19, focused on consumer electronics, home appliances, lighting, motorbikes, autos and auto parts, machinery, hardware, construction materials, sanitary products and chemicals.

"We are facing declining exports due to weak demand from buyers from traditional markets," said Liu Jianjun, spokesman for the Canton Fair.

At the ongoing second phase of the fair, the number of buyers from Europe and the United States has declined a lot, according to Liu.

Though the world economy hasn't yet stabilized, the fair's organizers remain somewhat optimistic about trade cooperation between China and the European Union, Liu said.

Despite Europe's woes, the EU remained China's largest trading partner in the first quarter, though bilateral trade growth was just 2.6 percent year-on-year at $126.87 billion.

Meanwhile, China's trade with the US - its second-largest trading partner - increased 9.3 percent to $106.77 billion, according to customs data released earlier this month.

China's exports rose 7.6 percent in the first quarter to $430 billion. But exports from Guangdong, the country's largest contributor to foreign trade, were up just 5.4 percent at $121.3 billion, customs sources said.


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