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90% domestic economists expect drop in exports
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Nearly 90 percent of Chinese domestic experts and market practitioners believe that the country will see a drop in exports this year in the wake of the United States subprime mortgage crisis.


A bi-annual survey of economists' opinions on China's macro-economy was recently conducted by China Business News, one of the country's leading financial newspapers. The survey covered 60 famous economists from the government, research institutes, universities and financial institutions and 23 fund managers on the market.


The survey report released by China Business News on Monday said 70 percent of the respondents forecast a slight fall in exports while 16.7 percent expected a sharp drop. Only 13.3 percent held that the bull run of exports would continue in 2008.


The majority of the experts believed the abolition of export tax rebates, the appreciation of the Renminbi, the rise in labor cost and sluggish consumption in the US would exert negative impacts on the country's economy.


China's trade surplus surged to a record US$262.2 billion in 2007 with exports climbing 25.7 percent to US$1.22 trillion and import rising 20.8 percent to US$955.8 billion. The export growth was 1.5 percentage points lower than in 2006, while the import growth posted a gain of 0.9 percentage points.


But 80 percent of experts held that China's trade surplus would stand at US$200 billion. However, this is not contradictory with the fall in exports, they said. That is because processing trade, which accounts for a large proportion of China's foreign trade, will also see a decline in imports.


It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Commerce gave top priorities to "keep the consumer price stable" on the national commerce work conference held earlier this month compared to the main task of "curb trade surplus" in 2007.


In addition, 73.4 percent of the respondents forecast a 10-plus percent growth in China's GDP and 43.3 percent believed that the Consumer Price Index rise would be between five to six percent this year.


(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2008)


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