China admits exports under pressure

Primarily responsible for helping China build foreign exchange reserves of about USD 3.2 trillion over the years, the Asian giant's exports are feeling pressure from global economic uncertainties, trade protectionism and rising domestic costs, Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesman Shen Danyang said told media here today.

"We cannot be optimistic about the export situation during the coming period," he said, citing a downshift in the global economic recovery, downgrade of the US credit rating and the spreading European debt crisis as exterior factors affecting China's exports.

Increasing inflationary pressure and the risk of a "hard landing" in major developing economies have also created uncertainties in global economic growth, he said.

Shen said frequent protectionist measures and trade disputes have had relatively large influence on China's exports.

These issues, along with rising costs at home, have complicated the outlook for China's foreign trade, official news agency Xinhua quoted Shen as saying.

His comments came in the wake of data showing that China's foreign trade declined by 8.3 per cent in October from September to USD 297.95 billion, even though it was 21.6 per cent expansion year-on-year.

According to official data, October exports weakened by 7.2 per cent month-on-month to USD 157.49 billion, while imports dropped 9.5 per cent month-on-month to USD 140.46 billion.

A report by the MOC last week forecast that China's foreign trade would expand by 20 per cent to USD 3.5 trillion next year despite the global downturn.

Foreign trade growth will slow in the following months of this year and in 2012 mainly due to "the complicated exterior environment", which it said posed risks to China's foreign trade.

But China will continue to boost trade growth, adjust its trade structure and expand imports to contribute to global trade balance, it said.

China faces a pessimistic foreign trade outlook in light of global economic turmoil, rising labour and raw material costs and mounting pressure regarding appreciation of the yuan, Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said last Friday.

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