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China focus: Canton Fair foretells grim trade outlook, economic rebalancing

(Xinhua)

08:10, October 22, 2012

People visit the 112th China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Oct. 15, 2012. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua)

GUANGZHOU, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- With the world economy mired in a chronic slowdown since the 2008 financial crisis, China's largest trade fair offers a glimpse into the country's foreign trade situation as well as the economic outlook.

The autumn session of the Canton Fair wrapped up its first week of display on Friday, mainly focusing on machinery and electronics products, hardware products and chemical products.

Statistics from the fair's organizer show that the number of overseas buyers to the fair -- a barometer of China's export situation -- declined considerably, indicating weak global demand amid a sluggish recovery, compounded by a more recent eurozone debt crisis.

The fair registered a total of 93,529 overseas buyers as of Thursday, a decline of 11.4 percent over the same period in the spring session.

At a time when the entire world is tightening its belt, global buyers are more cautious and hesitant in clinching orders.

"We are feeling much pressure, as the number of European and U.S. buyers visiting our booth dropped by more than half during the fair, and those who did visit seemed in a low mood to order," said Chen Dong, vice manager of Guangdong Machinery Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd.

Chen said his company had already witnessed a sales decline of 5 percent in the first half of this year.

China's foreign trade in the first three quarters of the year rose a mere 6.2 percent to 2.84 trillion U.S. dollars, sharply contrasting the 20.3-percent growth registered during the same period in 2011, according to the General Administration of Customs.

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