Tue, Dec 06, 2011 - Page 10 News List

China sounds alarm on exports

AFP, SHANGHAI, CHINA

Leading Chinese officials have painted a gloomy picture for the nation’s exports — a key engine of growth — warning that the global slowdown threatened the world’s second-largest economy.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (王岐山), China’s top finance official, over the weekend urged companies to help guarantee a “stable increase” in exports amid slowing external demand, Xinhua news agency said late on Sunday.

“The severe and complex world economic situation will inevitably mean global demand is insufficient,” Wang said while visiting Liaoning Province.

To maintain exports, Wang said companies should make their products more competitive while the government would lessen the tax burden on exporters and offer financial support, especially for small companies.

China’s exports rose 15.9 percent year-on-year to US$157.49 billion in October, but the total was down from US$169.7 billion in September because of falling demand caused by the economic woes in Europe and the US.

The data, coupled with figures released on Thursday showing China’s manufacturing activity contracted last month for the first time in 33 months, has caused concern that the Asian powerhouse is losing steam.

Beijing last week cut bank reserve levels for the first time in three years to help boost lending and spur growth to counter alarming signs of a domestic slowdown and the crisis in key export markets.

And in comments also published late on Sunday, Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming (陳德銘) warned that the global slowdown could hurt the nation’s economic growth next year.

“Under the influence of the contracting international economy and market, China’s economic growth next year may slow slightly,” Chen said, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s Web site.

China’s economy grew an annual 9.1 percent in the third quarter this year, slowing from the 9.5 percent in the second quarter and 9.7 percent in the first, official figures showed.

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