The Canton Fair, one of the country’s biggest trade fairs and a barometer of the health of the export sector, ended on a sombre note, with orders from overseas buyers down and traders reporting that most new contracts were kept short-term.
Deals signed across the fair’s three weeks amounted to US$36.3 billion, down more than 4 per cent on its previous session last October.
Attendance rose slightly, however, setting a record of 210,831 overseas buyers.
A fall in orders had been expected, with Deputy Commerce Minister Zhong Shan warning in January that the debt crisis in Europe was casting a shadow over global trade. And Commerce Minister Chen Deming said last week that the forthcoming April trade figures would show only “very small growth”.
Fair spokesman Liu Jianjun said about 86 per cent of deals were smaller and on shorter-term contracts than previously.
“Most buyers were cautious when placing…
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