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Shanghai's exports fall more slowly in March

Buoyed by increased tax rebates for labor-intensive industries, Shanghai's exports declined by a slower pace last month, compared to the first two months this year.

Exports declined 16.4 percent last month to US$24.95 billion from a year earlier, a slower drop from a 25-percent fall in the first two months of this year, Shanghai Customs said yesterday.

China has raised export tax rebates six times since August to ease the pressure on struggling manufacturers who face collapsing external demand for their goods amid the global economic slowdown.

Last month, exports of clothes gained 15.7 percent, shoes were up 13.4 percent and bags rose 2.3 percent from February when they declined.

"China has competitive edges in labor-intensive industries and the demand is comparatively stable as some customers may turn to Chinese-made lower-priced products during the global financial crisis," said Xue Jun, an analyst at Changjiang Securities Co.

In the first quarter of this year, nine traditional labor-intensive sectors exported a total of US$18.11 billion of products, a drop of 12.3 percent from a year earlier. The fall was 8.9 percentage points lower than the average of export volumes in the city.

Last month, imports tumbled 24.9 percent from a year earlier to US$13.97 billion, compared with a 33-percent decline in the first two months, according to the Shanghai Customs.

Shanghai's exports to emerging markets rebounded last month, and exports to its three largest markets - the European Union, the United States and Japan - declined by a slower pace. In the first three months, the exports fell 21.9 percent to US$68.92 billion and their value dropped 30.1 percent to US$35.67 billion.

China's foreign trade improved slightly in March, with exports falling 17.1 percent from a year earlier to US$90.3 billion, less severe than February's 25.7-percent plunge, according to the General Administration of Customs.


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