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Export outlook still uncertain, says NBS

By Li Qiaoyi (Global Times)

08:17, February 18, 2013

The outlook for China's exports remains volatile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Sunday in a review of the nation's manufacturing sector, warning of continued uncertainties surrounding the global economy that may cast a shadow over China's export sector.

The new export order sub-index of the purchasing managers' index (PMI) saw big fluctuations in 2012, indicating unstable overseas demand over the past year, said an article released Sunday on the bureau's website.

The global manufacturing sector remains sluggish and recovery in some major economies including the US is still uncertain, weighing on China's export outlook, the article said. The recent rise in international trade protectionism may also put a drag on the country's export prospects.

The monthly sub-index for new export orders, a barometer of overseas demand, averaged 49.3 percent during 2012, a record low, according to data from the bureau.

The January reading of the sub-index was down by 1.5 points month-on-month to 48.5 percent, suggesting shrinking exports in the manufacturing sector and reinforcing concerns over the outlook, despite an overall rebound in export growth in recent months.

"We remain wary so far about the outlook for this year's exports, although export growth seen in December and January appears to be quite strong," Lu Zhengwei, Shanghai-based chief economist at Industrial Bank Co, told the Global Times Sunday.

Major economies such as the European economies, the US and Japan have generally been on the mend over the past two months, contributing to the rebound, and there is strong growth momentum in exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to Lu.

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