Exporters in China's manufacturing heartland have seen increased orders in recent weeks, a survey has found, in a tentative sign of recovery for the beleaguered sector. Nearly half of respondents to a survey of Hong Kong-owned enterprises in the Pearl River Delta by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI) said they had seen a gradual increase in orders by the start of May.
"The FHKI is pleased with the signs of economic recovery, and hopes that such a trend can persist," said chairman Clement Chan, after the survey of around 100 firms was released on May 26. The survey found that businesses had welcomed stimulus measures by Beijing and Hong Kong to support businesses in southern China's factory belt.
Chan said it was imperative that measures put in place by Beijing and Hong Kong to help manufacturers, including tax incentives and the delay of tougher regulations, should continue until the export sector has fully recovered.
"We hope that signs of economic recovery can persist and become more prominent," Chan said, adding that he hoped to see stronger official data by the second half of the year.
China's export sector -- a main growth driver over the past three decades -- was battered late last year as the financial crisis hurt overseas demand, causing thousands of plants to close and leaving millions jobless.
Between December and February 90% of businesses had seen decreasing orders, with total orders dropping by an average of 36% compared to the previous year, the survey found.
Chinese exports fell 22.6% in April to 91.9 billion yuan (US$13.5 billion) from a year earlier in the sixth straight monthly decline, according to the latest official data.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009