Guangdong province, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of the mainland's overall exports, said exports rose 19.2 per cent in the first five months. Xinhua news agency quoted Gao Qiren, the deputy party secretary of the province, as saying export growth and other economic indicators were 'better than expected'. Nationwide, exports grew 8.6 per cent in the January-May period, with exports in May falling for the first time in nearly two years. Last week, the province released a set of financial incentives to boost exports, including giving full corporate profit-tax rebates to state exporters, which could expand their exports by more than 15 per cent this year. Mr Gao said that, in the first five months, the province's industrial output rose 12.4 per cent, while consumer sales rose 12 per cent after adjusting for inflation. The province's overall fixed-asset investment rose 11 per cent to 44.7 billion yuan (about HK$41.6 billion). He said the housing sector also showed signs of recovery.