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Foreign trade situation 'far from optimistic'

(Xinhua)

09:16, April 28, 2012

China's foreign trade this year faces situations "far from optimistic" due to thwarted global demand, rising costs at home and a harsh trading environment, according to an official report released Friday.

After trade growth slowed for a second consecutive quarter in the January-March period, China's trade will continue to grow at a slow pace in the second quarter and the annual rate will drop from that of 2011, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in an online statement.

In the first quarter, China's imports and exports expanded 7.3 percent from a year ago to reach 859.37 billion US dollars, according to the General Administration of Customs.

The growth rate was 22.3 percentage points lower than that of a year ago and marked the slowest pace since the fourth quarter of 2009.

THE ROSY SIDE

"Considering both the international and domestic environments, there are certain advantages and positive factors for maintaining steady trade growth, but 2012 is going to be an extremely challenging year for China's foreign trade," the statement said.

Since the beginning of this year, the global economy has shown some positive signs, said the ministry, citing examples such as better-than-expected economic growth in the United States and Japan, the European debt crisis being contained to some extent and strong measures taken by emerging economies to spur economic growth.

Domestically, China's economic situation is basically sound, as its economy expanded steadily in the first quarter and market confidence remained stable, the MOC said.

China's economy expanded 8.1 percent year on year in the first quarter, marking the fifth consecutive quarterly decline and the slowest growth pace since the third quarter of 2009, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows.

"The growth of the economy still has great potential and there is a relatively large amount of leeway for macroeconomic regulatory policies," according to the statement.

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