Record orders lift recovery hopes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 May, 1999, 12:00am

Beijing raised hopes of some recovery in exports this year after mainland exporters clinched a record US$11.55 billion in contracts at the China Export Commodities Fair in Guangzhou.

The figure is 5 per cent higher than in the fair's autumn session and 13.1 per cent higher than the spring session last year.

'The record export value has laid foundations for ensuring some growth in exports this year,' the organisers said yesterday.

The biannual fair, which ended yesterday, is the largest showcase event for mainland exporters and accounts for about 30 per cent of the mainland's merchandise export orders each year.

Organisers yesterday reported a resurgence of export orders by Southeast Asian countries, with $800 million worth of contracts signed, up 49 per cent over the fair's autumn session.

They said contract value for exports to Japan rose 13 per cent to $630 million, while exports to Latin American countries were up by 37 per cent to $700 million.

However, exports to Hong Kong fell by 10 per cent to $1.1 billion, while exports to the United States were down by 9 per cent to $1.7 billion.

Contract value for exports to the European Union inched up 0.5 per cent to $3.5 billion.

Garments and other textile products remained the largest export items followed by electronic goods and electrical home appliances.

The event has attracted a record 79,500 buyers from more than 170 countries and regions since it opened on April 15, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The spring session is usually regarded as a barometer for the mainland's foreign trade performance for the year.

In the first quarter, exports declined by 7.9 per cent year on year to $37.27 billion as the full impact of the regional financial crisis took hold.

The dismal figures have prompted some economists to forecast a sharp fall in exports for the whole year, which would be bad news for the yuan's stability.

Last year, the mainland's exports were up by only 0.5 per cent.

Mainland trade officials have vowed that they would try 'every possible means' to boost exports and promised new measures to increase tax rebates on exports and give exporters more access to bank loans and export credits.