8 Dec 2011

Export slowdown warning issued by China

5:18 am on 8 December 2011

China has warned it faces "severe challenges" to its exports due to economic difficulties in Western markets.

The Commerce Ministry said data due to be issued on Saturday will show a sharp slowdown in export growth in November.

Sales to Europe and the United States, which comprise about 40% of total exports, are not expected to recover next year.

The ministry said China would instead target exports to developing markets in Asia and Latin America.

China will also try to boost its imports from the West in order to help support their economies and to balance out China's trade surplus.

The BBC reports exports to the European Union fell 9% in October versus a year ago, and exports to the US fell 5%.

However, total exports were still up 15.9%, due in part to booming demand from Latin America.

But it was the weakest annual growth rate in two years, and exports were sharply down compared with a month earlier.

A recent manufacturing survey indicated that the sector contracted in November for the first time since the 2008-09 Western recession.

The ministry also blamed rising wages in China for hurting its trade competitiveness.