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Shipyards see 95% plunge in new orders

NEW orders for Chinese shipbuilders sank 95 percent in the first four months of 2009 from a year earlier to 990,000 deadweight tons, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its Website yesterday.

The industrial output value of domestic shipyards was 156.8 billion yuan (US$23 billion) by the end of April, a 39.4 percent jump year on year. But the growth rate was down 18 percentage points from the same period in the previous year.

The value of exports rose 28.9 percent year on year to 75.4 billion yuan.

But Chinese shipyards are not the only ones suffering as globally only 26 vessels, or 1.3 million dwt, were ordered in the first quarter of the year, according to latest statistics from Clarkson Plc.

"The number of new vessels being manufactured has been shrinking since last November and this will continue till the second half of this year," said Xiao Jiangfeng, an analyst at Datong Securities.

"We had no new orders by the end of March and we will see a slight drop in profit this year," Wang Qi, vice president of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co, told the media in Shanghai last month. He also pointed out that domestic and overseas shipyards are all facing risks of ship owners cancelling their orders but stressed that Waigaoqiao has not received any cancellation for the moment.

China State Shipbuilding Corp revealed it will complete 26 vessels, or 4 million dwt this year. It delivered 29 vessels and earned a profit of 2.47 billion yuan last year.


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