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China's annual export growth outlook hopeful
Exports are likely to stay in positive territory this year although negative growth cannot be ruled out for a few months, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday.
China's exports fell 0.9 percent year on year in the first seven months of the year, with exports in July alone slumping 8.9 percent, compared with a 2.1 percent increase in June. In July 2014, exports had increased by 14.5 percent year on year.
The latest monthly slump was partly caused by base effect as exports had experienced "exceptionally" fast increases in the same period last year, Shen Danyang, Ministry of Commerce spokesperson, said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"The export structure is improving in terms of products, market exposure and regional layout, and China's share in the global market is steadily expanding." Shen said.
"Private enterprises are claiming larger shares of exports," said Shen. "In contrast with the overall slump, exports by private firms in July increased 4.6 percent year on year."
Private firms accounted for more than one-third of the country's foreign trade volume, he continued.
While voicing confidence, Shen added: "Chinese exports are facing even tougher and more complicated situations at home and abroad, as well as a lot of uncertainties."
Worse-than-expected world recovery and weaker external demand will weigh on exports, said Shen.
Exports by the United States and Japan decreased by 5.2 percent and 8.1 percent year on year, respectively, in the first six months, according to data from the World Trade Organization.
Despite challenges, Shen is not alone in being optimistic on Chinese export growth.
July was "not a typical month" for exports due to the influence of commodity price fluctuations, said Tim Smith, chair of Maersk China and chief representative of Maersk Group North Asia, on Friday.
Smith expects improvement in China's exports in the coming quarter, helped by the yuan's depreciation.
China's imports slumped by 14.6 percent in the first seven months, when foreign trade dropped 7.3 percent. The target for trade growth for 2015 is around 6 percent.