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’Gloom’ as China’s non-ferrous trade slumps

China – Figures from the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CMRA) show that the country’€™s non-ferrous imports and exports were only 8.7% higher by value in January and February than in the same period last year.

The total trade value was US$ 24.7 billion during the first two months of 2012, representing a 20.5% fall in the import and export growth rate for the sector. The comparable growth rate for 2011 was 30%, with China’€™s non-ferrous trade for the full year totalling US$ 160 billion. CMRA Chairman Chen Quanxun described the early 2012 data as ‘€˜a gloomy sign for the economy’€™.

According to the association’€™s Secretary General, Jia Mingxing, the sharp decline was caused by falls in both domestic output and overseas demand, together with an increasing number of trade disputes in the industry.

‘€˜The world’€™s economic recovery remains weak, which will greatly influence the non-ferrous metals industry this year,’€™ explained Mr Chen. He emphasised that competition in the industry in the international market was ‘€˜getting fierce’€™, while new emerging economies were developing rapidly.

Mr Jia predicted that domestic demand and non-ferrous metals production would ‘€˜increase steadily’€™ through the rest of this year, while import and export volumes would follow but at a notably slower pace.

The CMRA, supported by China’€™s National Bureau of Statistics, is preparing the country’s first composite index of all non-ferrous metals. It is hoped the index, set to be introduced by the end of this year, will clarify economic trends and help the industry to avoid external threats.

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