(ATF) Foreign trade in south China's Guangdong Province contracted by 7.1 % year-on-year to 3.06 trillion yuan ($438 billion) in the first half of the year as coronavirus ravaged the ‘world’s factory’.
Customs statistics showed the decline narrowed, however, by 1.7 percentage points compared with that in the first five months, indicating a gradual trade recovery. Total trade volume of the province in the second quarter surged 23% on the previous three-month period, according to the Guangdong customs.
Export volumes dropped 8.5% over the year to 1.82tn yuan in H1, while imports contracted 5% to 1.24tn yuan.
Largely due to its proximity to Westernised Hong Kong, Guangdong was among the first regions to develop economically after China began opening up in the 1980s under then leader Deng Xiaoping. Until recently it remained the centre of the Chinese miracle but the growth of other regions and cities, including Shnaghai, has seen Guangdong’s dominance dissipate.
A trade war with the US and the chilling effect of the coronavirus pandemic has also dented overseas trade from a region that was once dubbed the world’s factory for the huge amount of cheap manufactured products it exported.
In 2019, provincial foreign trade slipped 0.3%, although it still accounted for 23% of the nation’s total, according to Pengyuan International, a ratings agency.
Trade volume contributed by private companies rose 0.6% to 1.68tn yuan, accounting for 55% of Guangdong's total.
The ASEAN remains the largest trading partner of the province, with trade volume up 6.8% to 470bn yuan.
Export of anti-epidemic materials surged by 1.7 times to 94.15bn yuan, and imported consumption goods rose 10.5% to 117bn yuan.