The number of buyers at the latest Chinese Export Commodities Fair in Guangzhou - the largest trade show on the mainland - was down by more than 9 per cent compared with the previous session in the spring, although trade volume amounted to US$29.4 billion. At the close of the two-week fair yesterday, spokesman Xu Bing said 177,000 buyers from 210 countries had attended the 98th session. He attributed the drop to the clash with Ramadan on the Muslim calendar, on-going trade frictions and expensive accommodation in Guangzhou. 'The reduction in the number of buyers from Muslim countries and districts accounted for about 74 per cent of the overall drop,' he said. The number of Africans attending dropped by 30 per cent to 8,660. The number of buyers from Asian nations and regions was down by about 12 per cent to about 100,000. But the number of buyers from Europe increased by 7 per cent over the last session, reaching 37,150. The figure for Hong Kong remained stable at 32,967 buyers. The fair is held twice a year.