At China’s largest trade fair, exporters worry about world economy

GUANGZHOU, April 16 (Reuters) – Chinese exporters exhibiting their products at the country’s largest trade fair said the weak global economy was hurting their businesses, with many freezing investments and some cutting labor costs in response.

The subdued mood at the Canton Fair in the southern city of Guangzhou suggests China’s unexpected jump in exports in March may have reflected exporters catching up with orders delayed last year by COVID curbs rather than renewed economic strength.

The first major trade event since China abruptly dropped COVID restrictions and re-opened its borders comes as sharply higher borrowing costs in the United States and Europe hit demand for Chinese-made goods.

Kris Lin, a representative from Christmas light producer Taizhou Hangjie Lamps, said this year’s orders so far are down 30% from last year.

“The difficulties last year came from logistics and production disruptions but the local government helped solve the problems. That’s an internal issue. Now we have external problems. We can’t solve those,” Lin said.

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