Page last updated at 07:19 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 08:19 UK

Sharp fall in exports from China

By Chris Hogg
Shanghai Correspondent, BBC News

Shenzhen port, south China
The fall in exports was worse than had been expected

China's exports in April were down 22.6% from a year ago, the sixth successive month of decline.

April's fall in exports was also bigger than the 17.1% annual decline recorded in March.

But other data released on Tuesday suggest that Chinese government efforts to stimulate the economy are pushing up investment levels in the country.

Analysts remain optimistic that China will be the first to make its way out of recession.

For those Chinese factory owners who send most of their products abroad, there is little relief in these latest trade figures.

Some had hoped the worst was over for exporters, but the 22.6% fall was greater than many analysts had expected.

On the other hand, investment in industrial plants and property in cities was 30% higher in the first four months of the year than it had been in the same period of 2008.

Investment projects

In recent months, the government has encouraged banks to lend huge amounts to businesses to help them get through the downturn.

That money has being spent on new equipment as well as massive infrastructure projects.

The outlook for exporters remains uncertain, because they are reliant on improvements in economic conditions elsewhere, which the Chinese government has little control over.

But for the Chinese economy as a whole, the prospects are brighter.

The government's stimulus package and increased lending are helping to keep those businesses that serve the domestic market afloat.

Most analysts expect to see stronger economic growth in the second half of the year.



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