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Export orders down at 1st full post-pandemic Canton Fair in China

Offline deals signed still nearly one-third lower than spring session in 2019

China's first full-scale trade event since lifting COVID-19 travel curbs, the Canton Fair, saw a sharp drop in export orders compared with 2019 as higher interest rates hit overseas demand.     © Reuters

SHENZHEN, China, (Reuters) -- The first full return of China's biggest trade show saw a drop in the value of signed export orders compared with pre-pandemic levels, though the figure still managed to exceed expectations, its organizers said.

Offline export deals signed at the Canton Fair came to $21.69 billion, organizers said on Friday, down almost a third on the $29.73 billion signed in the spring session of the fair in 2019.

The first major trade event since China abruptly dropped draconian COVID-19 curbs and reopened its borders came as sharply higher borrowing costs in the United States and Europe hit demand for Chinese-made goods.

China's vice commerce minister, Wang Shouwen, had warned a week before the fair that the foreign trade situation would be "severe and complicated this year." 

The pandemic caused subsequent fairs to be canceled, moved online, or held without overseas visitors.

Almost 130,000 buyers attended the offline event, the organizers said.

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