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Canton Fair feels pinch of global crisis
Latest Updated at 2008-October-16 10:36:01
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The global financial crisis seems to have lowered the expectations of China's exporters as the country's leading trade fair, commonly known as the Canton Fair, opened Wedneaday.

"The financial turbulence may have a relatively big impact on China's exports. We need to be on high alert," Vice-Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said.

Viewed as the barometer of Chinese exports and imports, the autumn session of the biennial fair in Guangzhou will run till Nov 6.

Events at the 104th China Import and Export Fair will be held for 15 days compared to 12 during the previous fairs, fair spokesman Mu Xinhai said.

But that's not the only change this year. It is being held at Pazhou Complex, which is bigger than the Liuhua Complex, home to the fair since 1974, Mu said.

There are 53,000 booths this time, 10,000 more than the previous fair, Wen Zhongliang, director of the fair's business office, said.

Despite the encouraging changes, businessmen and analysts have taken a cautious attitude toward China's export prospects because of the global financial crisis, fluctuations in raw material prices, revaluation of the yuan, and a drop in consumption and other factors.

Haier Group, one of the leading domestic household goods manufacturers, reported an increase of about 10 percent in its overseas sales volume in the first three quarters of the year, a marked drop compared with the 30 percent rise during the same period last year, said Zhang Bin, a senior manager of the Qingdao-based company.

"The number of buyers from the US and Europe this time has greatly fallen. US buyers don't want to attend such fairs even in their own country," he said. "The short-term impact of the crisis has become obvious."

Zhang said the negative impact triggered by the financial crisis would last at least a year.

Dubai-based Naghi Yasil, who buys building materials, said he had always signed long-term export deals worth millions of dollars at each of the about 10 Canton Fairs he has attended. "But because of uncertainties about the consumption market early next year and prices of raw materials and commodities, I will mainly sign short-term deals this time."

China's exports rose 22.3 percent to $1.07 trillion during the first three quarters of this year, and imports increased 29 percent to $893.1 billion, according to Ministry of Commerce figures.

The growth of exports has shown an acceleration of 0.4 percentage points over the first half of the year, but is 4.8 percentage points lower than the same period last year. "Export figures do not seem to be very discouraging now," said Zhang Yansheng, director of the International Economic Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission.

"But the country's exporters are in a very difficult situation, nevertheless.

"The financial crisis will inevitably hurt economic entities across the world, including China," he said.

Despite the gloomy situation, commerce officials are trying to boost the confidence of exporters. "China's economic fundamentals are still strong, so are exports," said Yao Shenhong, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website

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