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Steve Chiotakis: Asian economies began 2009 with more signs of deterioration.
Today South Korea said its exports fell 17 percent compared to last year. And in China, factory production is off-the-charts bad. From Shanghai, Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports.
Scott Tong: Chinese factory output fell by its sharpest rate ever recorded. That’s according to the investment bank CLSA. Consumers around the world are buying less of everything from laptops to sofas to t-shirts. The factory job index in China also hit a record low.
CLSA economist Eric Fishwick says he’s never seen this kind of rapid dropoff in his career. And he expects it to get worse.
Eric Fishwick: You should be prepared for a very, very weak first half. Because a lot of that export slowdown is only just starting. And the second-round effects, in terms of labor being shed, is only just starting to show up.
The reports finds China’s manufacturing sector on the verge of recession, something economists would have laughed off just four months ago. Beijing has rolled out stimulus after stimulus to juice the economy, and prop up exporters.
Fishwick predicts China will start to recover in the fall. But he thinks much of the rest of Asia will stay in the dumps for the entire year.
In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.
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