China's export leader reports 31% drop in January foreign trade

China's export leader reports 31% drop in January foreign trade
Foreign trade in south China's Guangdong Province, the nation's key production and export base, continued to fall in January, plunging 31 percent from a year earlier, the provincial customs authority said Tuesday.

Exports totaled 24.2 billion U.S. dollars, down 23.6 percent, while imports contracted by 42.1 percent to 12.4 billion U.S. dollars.

Total foreign trade was 36.6 billion U.S. dollars, with a surplus of 11.77 billion U.S. dollars, customs figures show.

The seven-day Spring Festival holiday and the falling costs of imported energy and raw materials mean the decline may not be as drastic as it appears, said a provincial commerce department official.

Last year's Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, fell in Feb.

A survey by the commerce department of 50 large export-oriented firms showed 47 of them thought insufficient purchasing power overseas and shrinking demand contributed to the decline.

Thirty-four of them said their orders dropped 20 to 30 percent this year.

The provincial government would offer tax rebates, and promote import and export credits and insurance to boost exports, said Wan Qingliang, Guangdong's deputy governor.

China's foreign trade in January fell 29 percent from a year earlier.

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