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China exports likely to return to growth: govt

Foreign direct investment falls for 10th month in China
Foreign direct investment in China dropped 35.7 percent year-on-year in July for the 10th straight monthly fall, the commerce ministry said Monday. China attracted a total of 5.36 billion dollars in foreign investment last month, ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters. The decline compared with a fall of 6.8 percent in June from the same month in 2008, according to previously released statistics. Foreign direct investment in the first seven months was down 20.3 percent over the same period last year to 48.3 billion dollars, the spokesman said.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 17, 2009
China expects its exports, which have fallen year-on-year for nine straight months, to return to positive growth before the end of 2009, the government said Monday.

"It's possible the decline in China's exports will narrow in the second half and even grow in some months given the low base effects in the second half of 2008 due to the financial crisis," said commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian.

China's exports have been shrinking since November as foreign demand has dropped amid the global crisis.

Shipments abroad slumped 22 percent in the first seven months of the year from the same period last year, customs figures showed.

However, July exports of 105.4 billion dollars pointed to some recovery as it marked an increase of 10.4 percent from June, according to official data.

Yao said the decline in labour-intensive exports including toys, apparel and shoes was much smaller than the overall drop, and the market share of Chinese goods actually increased in places such as the United States, Japan and Brazil.

"Chinese exporters' competitiveness has remained strong mainly because our exports still focused on labour-intensive goods... which are not so easily affected by income changes in the international market," Yao said.

But he warned that there were still many uncertainties in the global economy on several fronts, such as retail sales growth and the general stability of the financial system.

"So we maintain a rather prudent view on the export trend," Yao said.

Andy Xie, an independent economist based in Shanghai, said a rebound in the figures could be seen after October, as exports collapsed in November last year, but cautioned such a result would not necessarily signal a real recovery.

"It's meaningless, it's just a game of numbers. China's exports are driven by demand in consumption in developed countries," he told AFP.

"Retail sales in major economies, which indicate end demand, did not grow and declined month-on-month, although at a slower pace than in the past.

"So there might not be a turnaround in China's exports as they are mainly consumer goods."

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