China January inflation cools to 0.8%
Updated: 2015-02-10 10:25
Consumers shop in a supermarket in Xuchang city, Central China's Henan province, Oct 6, 2014. [Geng Guoqing/Asianewsphoto]
China's yuan fell 2.5 percent in 2014 and has lost another 0.6 percent so far in 2015, providing some relief to exporters after four years of uninterrupted appreciation.
China became the world's largest merchandise trader in 2013, but its foreign trade slowed significantly compared with the levels that prevailed before the 2008 global financial crisis. That crisis had a lasting impact on demand in the United States and the EU. At the same time, rising domestic costs have made China's products less competitive.
Zhang Ji, director general of the Department of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Commerce, said developed nations are revitalizing their export sectors through reindustrialization and trade protection policies.
The era of fast trade growth that China experienced in the past three decades may be gone, Zhang said.
In the past half decade, China has also been losing its advantages — including skilled labor, sound infrastructure and industrial facilities — as many industries and orders move to other markets such as Southeast Asia and India.
"As external markets will not fundamentally improve for the rest of this year, China must speed up its restructuring of regional trade and value chains, including expanding the global use of its currency, and facilitating regional trade through more free trade agreements and connectivity programs," Zhang said.