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Ports suffer from drop in export demand

CHINA'S port container handling volume recorded a year-on-year decline in February, expanding the drop in January as the financial crisis continues to hurt the country's exports.

The volume of containers handled by ports nationwide totaled 6.97 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in February, down 17 percent compared with the same month of 2008.

January's figure was 8.99 million TEUs, also down 13.3 percent year on year and 12 percent lower than in December 2008.

A report released by China International Capital Corporation showed that recovery was not yet in sight as overseas demand would shrink further. It said the decline in February widened in spite of three more working days compared to the same month last year.

China's export volume decreased 17.5 percent year on year to US$90.45 billion in January, according to the General Administration of Customs. Export data for February will be released this week. However, the 21st Century Business Herald quoted an official as saying that export decline would deepen to more than 20 percent from the same period in 2008.

The total volume of coal was reduced by 15 million tons in February, or 15.5 percent from a year earlier. Metal volumes slid 8 percent year on year.

The report forecast a possible pick-up for metals after the 4-trillion-yuan (US$584.7 billion)stimulus package and measures to revive sectors such as ship and vehicle manufacturing increased demand.


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