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Low exports threaten China’s stability

Scott Tong Dec 1, 2008
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Low exports threaten China’s stability

Scott Tong Dec 1, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: When it comes to exports, China’s been like Bugs Bunny — always coming out on top. But the numbers out this morning suggest China needs to ask: What’s up, doc? Our Shanghai bureau chief, Scott Tong, reports.


Scott Tong: Factory orders in China fell to their lowest level since the government started measuring them. Translation, says one economist: overseas customers did a Wile E Coyote, as in they fell off a cliff. And China is just starting to feel America’s pain, in the form of plunging exports.

Beijing has already slashed interest rates, and pledged a massive stimulus package. And over the weekend, it pledged subsidies to rural residents.

Political analyst Russell Moses says economic stability goes hand in hand with social stability.

Russell Moses: It’s beginning to smell a bit like a crisis in terms of what officials and leaders are starting to see. One of the things they’re starting to see are protests. And they’re also starting to see more bad news internationally. And I don’t think they’re quite sure how to cope with that.

Last week, hundreds of laid-off factory workers smashed company windows and computers and overturned police cars. Over the weekend, Chinese President Hu Jintao warned that the global crisis will “test the party’s ability to govern.”

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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