Marked Drop In Business At East China Fair

Despite hopes for economic recovery, China's exporters failed to get much encouragement from the recent East China Trade Fair in Shanghai with the number of deals 39% down on those in 2008.

According to the organizers, the five-day East China Fair — which is attended by exporters from seven provinces and Shanghai, as well as foreign companies — saw just USD2.24 billion worth of business signed: down 39% from a year earlier.

The number of foreign visitors to the fair, 18,229, was also down by 5%.

The organizers stated that orders to the U.S. fell by nearly 47%, with sales to Japan down by 27%, and deals with European buyer fell by 40%.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency a survey of more than 160 trading companies in the eastern city of Ningbo, south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, found that nearly two-thirds believed a recovery would not come until late 2009 at the earliest.

Most manufacturers are focusing on Europe and the developing world to help make up for lost sales to the U.S., the Xinhua report said adding that sales by Zhejiang factories to Russia, Iran, and India jumped more than 50%.

Declining business is reflected in declines in container traffic at Shanghai and in the southern port of Shenzhen. According to Citi analyst Ally Ma actual order flows in the two regions fell by 20% to 30% over this period.

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