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Exports Still Booming Despite Global Crisis

China's foreign trade registered robust growth in the first nine months at US$1.97 trillion, up 25.2 percent year-on-year, according to Customs figures released on Tuesday.

In September, exports rose 21.5 percent from the same period last year, compared to 21.1 percent in August. Imports rose 21.3 percent.

But economists and trade officials warn that exports in the coming months could run into rough weather as the impact of the financial crisis spreads to non-financial sectors, and global demand declines as a result of a slowdown in developed economies.

"This is data for September. Anything that precedes the massive dislocation that we're seeing in global financial markets is really irrelevant data," Glenn Maguire, an economist with Societe Generale in Hong Kong, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Trade with the US, China's second largest trading partner, turned sluggish. The figure was US$251.5 billion for the first nine months, up 13.8 percent year-on-year but the increase was 1.8 percentage points lower than last year.

The EU remained China's largest trading partner with bilateral trade amounting to US$322.5 billion, up 25.9 percent year-on-year. But economists estimate growth to slow in the next few months as the continent feels the full impact of the crisis.

Among other trading partners, trade with India increased the fastest, at 54.9 percent year on year.

Mechanical and electrical products accounted for 57.4 percent of the country's total exports, a year-on-year growth of 24 percent. Exports of traditional products, however, shrank sharply as a result of reduced demand. Exports of garments and accessories, for instance, increased only by 1.8 percent, compared to 23 percent the previous year.

(China Daily October 15, 2008)

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