Archive for ‘exports’

09/12/2018

China’s November export, import growth shrinks, showing weak demand

BEIJING (Reuters) – China reported far weaker than expected November exports and imports, showing slower global and domestic demand and raising the possibility authorities will take more measures to keep the country’s growth rate from slipping too much.

November exports only rose 5.4 percent from a year earlier, Chinese customs data showed on Saturday, the weakest performance since a 3 percent contraction in March, and well short of the 10 percent forecast in a Reuters poll.

Analysts say the export data showed that the “front-loading” impact as firms rushed out shipments to beat planned U.S. tariff hikes faded, and that export growth is likely to slow further as demand cools.

The customs data showed that annual growth for exports to all of China’s major partners slowed significantly.

Exports to the United States rose 9.8 percent in November from a year earlier, compared with 13.2 percent in October.

To the European Union, shipments increased 6.0 percent, compared with 14.6 percent in October. Exports to South Korea fell from a year earlier, while in October they rose 7.7 percent.

SLOWEST IMPORT GROWTH SINCE 2016

Import growth was 3 percent, the slowest since October 2016, and a fraction of the 14.5 percent seen in the poll. Imports of iron ore fell for a second time, reflecting waning restocking demand at steel-mills as profit margins narrow.

“The sluggishness in imports and exports is in full swing,” said Wang Jun, chief economist of Zhongyuan Bank in Beijing.

The soft imports “show a relatively significant pullback in domestic demand”, he added.

In recent months, Chinese exports had expanded robustly, which economists said reflected front-loading of cargoes before a now-postponed plan to hike U.S. tariffs of $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1.

The November trade numbers came out less than a week after Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce delaying that tariff hike as they negotiate a trade deal. November’s China numbers might add a sense of urgency.

Stirring fears of a reignition of trade tension, the daughter of Huawei Technologies’ founder, a top executive at the Chinese technology giant, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 and faces extradition to the United States, threatening to drive a wedge between the U.S. and China.

TALKS ‘GOING VERY WELL’

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday sounded an optimistic note about trade negotiations with China as his top economic advisers downplayed friction from the arrest of Meng Wanzhou.

“China talks are going very well,” Trump said on Twitter, without providing any details.

In a note, analysts at Haitong Securities in Shanghai said “Growth in shipments of Chinese goods on U.S. 200 billion tariff list has started to pull back, indicating that frontloading effects may be starting to recede.”

“Now with U.S. and China agreeing not to escalate trade tensions any longer, China will start purchasing U.S. agricultural goods, which may narrow China-U.S. trade surplus in the future,” they said.

China’s November trade surplus with the United States was a record $35.55 billion. The October surplus was $31.78 billion. But China’s imports from the U.S. in November fell 25 percent from a year earlier, while the annual decline in October was only 1.8 percent.

For trade with all countries, China’s surplus was $44.74 billion for November, compared with forecasts of $34 billion and October’s surplus of $34.02 billion.

On Thursday, the U.S. reported that its global trade deficit in October jumped to a 10-year high, and that the deficit with China surged 7.1 percent to a record $43.1 billion.

THE WEAKER YUAN

Economists say one factor helping keep up Chinese exports this year is that the yuan CNY=CFXS has weakened more than 5 percent against the dollar, helping to make Chinese products more competitive abroad.

Jonas Short, head of the Beijing office of brokerage Everbright Sun Hung Kai, said the weaker yuan “should boost industrial exports over the coming months. Typically there is a six-month lag between the value of industrial export orders and currency movements.”

Economists in recent months have penciled in a deterioration in China’s export outlook in 2019, factoring in higher U.S. tariffs on a wider range of Chinese goods.

Chinese policymakers are expected to offer more policy support and deliver more support measures if domestic and external conditions continue to deteriorate.

China’s central bank has cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves four times this year, as policymakers seek to steady the slowing economy amid the trade war with the United States.

The government aims for growth of around 6.5 percent this year, compared with 2017’s 6.9 percent pace.

Yang Yewei, an analyst at Southwest Securities in Beijing, said that as global demand cools, “domestic growth-boosting measures should be more effective”.

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28/12/2017

Chengdu runs 1,000 cargo trains to Europe in 2017 – Xinhua | English.news.cn

A cargo train loaded with 41 containers of electronic products departed from Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, for the Netherlands on Wednesday.It brings the total number of cargo trains from Chengdu to Europe to 1,000 this year, and 1,700 since the city launched the service in 2013.The city has rail routes to 14 European countries.”Rail freight is one of the fields where the Sino-European cooperation has made very important progress and will continue to do so in the future,” said Filippo Nicosia, Italy Consul General in Chongqing.In 2018, at least 1,000 cargo trains are expected to run from Chengdu to Europe.Demand for rail cargo between China and Europe, an alternative to slower and riskier sea freight and much costlier air cargo, has exploded in recent years.About 35 Chinese cities run cargo trains to Europe.

Source: Chengdu runs 1,000 cargo trains to Europe in 2017 – Xinhua | English.news.cn

13/01/2017

China posts worst export fall since 2009 as fears of U.S. trade war loom | Reuters

China’s massive export engine sputtered for the second year in a row in 2016, with shipments falling in the face of persistently weak global demand and officials voicing fears of a trade war with the United States that is clouding the outlook for 2017.

In one week, China’s leaders will see if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on a campaign pledge to brand Beijing a currency manipulator on his first day in office, and starts to follow up on a threat to slap high tariffs on Chinese goods.

Even if the Trump administration takes no concrete action immediately, analysts say the specter of deteriorating U.S.-China trade and political ties is likely to weigh on the confidence of exporters and investors worldwide.

The world’s largest trading nation posted gloomy data on Friday, with 2016 exports falling 7.7 percent and imports down 5.5 percent. The export drop was the second annual decline in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2009.

It will be tough for foreign trade to improve this year, especially if the inauguration of Trump and other major political changes limit the growth of China’s exports due to greater protectionist measures, the country’s customs agency said on Friday.

“The trend of anti-globalization is becoming increasingly evident, and China is the biggest victim of this trend,” customs spokesman Huang Songping told reporters.

“We will pay close attention to foreign trade policy after Trump is inaugurated president,” Huang said. Trump will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

China’s trade surplus with the United States was $366 billion in 2015, according to U.S. customs data, which Trump could seize on in a bid to bring Beijing to the negotiating table to press for concessions, economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a recent research note.

A sustained trade surplus of more than $20 billion against the United States is one of three criteria used by the U.S. Treasury to designate another country as a currency manipulator.

China is likely to point out that its own data showed the surplus fell to $250.

79 billion in 2016 from $260.91 billion in 2015, but that may get short shrift in Washington.

“Our worry is that Trump’s stance towards China’s trade could bring about long-term structural weakness in China’s exports,” economists at ANZ said in a note.

“Trump’s trade policy will likely motivate U.S. businesses to move their manufacturing facilities away from China, although the latter’s efforts in promoting high-end manufacturing may offset part of the loss.”

On Wednesday, China may have set off a warning shot to the Trump administration. Beijing announced even higher anti-dumping duties on imports of certain animal feed from the United States than it proposed last year.

“Instead of caving in and trying to prepare voluntary export restraints like Japan did with their auto exports back in the 1980s, we believe China would start by strongly protesting against the labeling with the IMF, but not to initiate more aggressive retaliation … immediately,” the BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report said.

“That said, even a ‘war of words’ could weaken investor confidence not only in the U.S. and China, but globally.”

CHINA’S DECEMBER EXPORTS FALL

China’s December exports fell by a more-than-expected 6.1 percent on-year, while imports beat forecasts slightly, growing 3.1 percent on its strong demand for commodities which has helped buoy global resources prices.

An unexpected 0.1 percent rise in shipments in November, while scant, had raised hopes that China was catching up to an export improvement being seen in some other Asian economies.

China reported a trade surplus of $40.82 billion for December, versus November’s $44.61 billion.

While the export picture has been grim all year, with shipments rising in only two months out of 12, import trends have been more encouraging of late, pointing to a pick-up in domestic demand as companies brought in more raw materials from iron ore to copper to help feed a construction boom.

China imported record amounts of crude oil, iron ore, copper and soybeans in 2016, plus large volumes of coal used for heating and in steelmaking.

“Trade protectionism is on the rise but China is relying more on domestic demand,” said Wen Bin, an economist at Minsheng Bank in Beijing.

Prolonged weakness in exports has forced China’s government to rely on higher spending and massive bank lending to boost the economy, at the risk of adding to a huge pile of debt which some analysts warn is nearing danger levels.

Data next Friday is expected to almost certainly show that 2016 economic growth hit Beijing’s target of 6.5-7 percent thanks to that flurry of stimulus.

But signs are mounting that the red-hot property market may have peaked, meaning China may have less appetite this year for imports of building-related materials.

“It is hard to see what could drive a more substantial recovery in Chinese trade,” Julian Evans-Pritchard, China Economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note.

“Further upside to economic activity, both in China and abroad, is probably now limited given declines in trend growth. Instead, the risks to trade lie to the downside…,” he said, saying the chance of a damaging China-U.S. trade spat has risen since Trump’s appointment of hardliners to lead trade policy.

A decline in China’s trade surplus in 2016, to just under $510 billion from $594 billion in 2015, may also reduce authorities’ ability to offset capital outflow pressures, which have helped drive its yuan currency to more than eight-year lows, ANZ economists said.

Source: China posts worst export fall since 2009 as fears of U.S. trade war loom | Reuters

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04/01/2017

‘China freight train’ in first trip to Barking – BBC News

China has launched a direct rail freight service to London, as part of its drive to develop trade and investment ties with Europe.China Railway already runs services between China and other European cities, including Madrid and Hamburg.

The train will take about two weeks to cover the 12,000 mile journey and is carrying a cargo of clothes, bags and other household items.

It has the advantage of being cheaper than air freight and faster than sea.

The first China-Europe Block Train for Madrid left Yiwu Railway Freight Station in November 2014The proliferation of routes linking China and Europe is part of a strategy launched in 2013 aimed at boosting infrastructure links with Europe along the former Silk Road trading routes.London will become the 15th European city to join what the Chinese government calls the New Silk Route.

The service will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany Belgium and France before arriving at Barking Rail Freight Terminal in East London, which is directly connected to the High Speed 1 rail line to the European mainland.

Because of the different railway gauges involved, a single train cannot travel the whole route and the containers need to be reloaded at various points.

The Chinese government is keen to boost its economy in the face of slowing export and economic growth.

Source: ‘China freight train’ in first trip to Barking – BBC News

10/11/2016

Chinese Flag-Maker Flooded With Orders in Wake of Trump Win – China Real Time Report – WSJ

While China’s leaders weigh what to make of Donald Trump’s impending presidency, one manufacturer in the scenic city of Shaoxing has been enthusiastically carrying Mr. Trump’s banner.

Or, more accurately, he’s been printing, folding and shipping it.Yao Dandan is the owner of Shaoxing Jiahao Banner and Handicrafts Co. Ltd. Since election results suggesting a Trump victory began pouring in Wednesday morning, he says, he’s fielded a barrage of orders for Trump-themed flags.

The total number ordered as of Thursday morning: more than 40,000.

“I knew there would be demand for Trump flags after the election, so I made extra. But it’s not enough, so now I have to make more,” Mr. Yao said.The 30-year-old said that he’s been in the flag-making business for a decade and that Shaoxing’s factories specialize in making election banners. His factory has taken orders for close to half a million Trump banners in the past two months, he said.

Mr. Trump has taken heat for vowing tough restrictions on Chinese imports while over the years turning to China to source goods ranging from ties to steel, but there’s no evidence the next U.S. president purchased banners from Shaoxing. Mr. Yao said most of the orders he’s received came from Chinese clients living in the U.S.

Flags bound for the U.S. have to be higher quality than most, he said. He charges 2.5 yuan ($0.37) a piece for the smallest Trump banners, which his clients typically sell in the U.S. for between $1 or $2 (they sell for 5 yuan on e-commerce site Alibaba). The factory has produced every U.S. state flag, and earlier this year got multiple orders for Confederate flags.

What about orders for Hillary Clinton banners? Mr. Yao, who counts himself a Trump supporter, said he’s been asked but now refuses to make them because he believes Mrs. Clinton is unfair to China.

The news of Trump’s win was “a pleasant surprise,” he said. “It means I didn’t strive these past couple of months in vain.”

Asked about Mr. Trump’s vow to impose a 45% across-the-board tariff on Chinese goods, Mr. Yao confessed he wasn’t aware of that part of the property mogul’s platform but said he thought China’s government would make sure it wasn’t implemented.

The flag-maker said he’d never been to the U.S. but planned to remedy that soon.

“When things slow down, I’m going to go to the U.S. and have a look. At the very least I also contributed a little!” he said.

Source: Chinese Flag-Maker Flooded With Orders in Wake of Trump Win – China Real Time Report – WSJ

04/11/2016

The Economist explains: Why Britain is wooing India | The Economist

WHEN Britain eventually leaves the European Union it will prosper by trading farther afield. So argues Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, ahead of her first big bilateral trip abroad, a three-day visit to India, which begins on Sunday, November 6th. She talks of forging a “new global role” with this trade mission, hobnobbing with Indian leaders and championing free trade in general. The idea is to promote ties between small and medium businesses in the two countries. Yet creating a stronger economic relationship with India will prove much tougher than Mrs May and her colleagues expect.

On the face of it, the signs are good. India has nearly 1.3bn people. Many are emerging as middle-class consumers for the first time. The country is creating a single market for goods and services, reducing internal and external barriers to trade and tackling some corruption and bureaucracy. Its economy, worth over $2trn, is the fastest-growing large one in the world. It is likely to rattle along quickly for many years to come; by 2030, India could rank as the world’s third-largest. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, wants to make it less difficult for businesses to operate there, and to win more foreign investment and trade deals. British firms are already among the biggest investors. Now India is opening up for foreign activity in sectors that might suit British firms especially: notably in insurance, defence, railways and some retail. At the same time, large Indian firms—such as Tata, which owns Jaguar Land Rover, as well as Tata Steel—are in Britain. London has also become a base for Indian firms, for example in business consulting, that tap the wider EU market. A common language, shared cultural, historic, legal and sporting ties, plus the influence of the Indian diaspora in Britain, bode well for closer ties.

Mrs May is thus right to reach out. But anyone expecting quick gains will be disappointed. One of India’s priorities, for example, is avoiding complications over a long-stalled free trade agreement with the EU, which has been under negotiation since June 2007. After 12 rounds of talks, some consensus has been found on issues including trade in rice, sugar, textiles and pharmaceuticals. It is not clear that India’s overstretched trade negotiators will see much benefit in being diverted to work on a deal with Britain alone, especially if that makes it harder to complete one with the bigger EU market. Even if they do decide to talk biltaterally, among the sticking points has been India’s 150% tariff on imports of whisky from Scotland. Future British negotiators would struggle to be more effective than their European counterparts at getting that scrapped. The biggest concern, however, is about Britain’s ever colder shoulder towards Indians who want to travel and study there. Under the Conservatives, Britain has in the past six years become less welcoming to foreigners, notably from South Asia, who hope to attend university and then work. Eye-wateringly expensive visas, increasingly hostile rules to get them, official talk of cracking down on foreign students in Britain, and graduates who lose the right to work after finishing a degree in Britain all leave Indians feeling unwelcome. Anecdotes abound of bright Indian students who win places at the best British universities but are refused visas to travel. Perceptions of generally rising xenophobia in Britain are discouraging to Indians too.

For Mrs May to win a warm welcome in India she needs to offer a message that is not only about investment and trade, but also sets out that Britain—in particular its universities—will again become more open to Indian visitors, migrants, students and their families. America is proving far more successful at attracting the highest-skilled migrants, especially software and other engineers. Other countries, including some in Europe, are rolling out policies to attract more Indian students to their universities. Yet Britain appears more hostile to migrants than it has in many decades. Within a few years, it is worth remembering, India’s economy will be bigger than Britain’s. Welcoming more exchanges of people, as well as encouraging higher levels of trade and investment, would make sense for both sides.

Source: The Economist explains: Why Britain is wooing India | The Economist

31/10/2016

The Economist explains: Why some Indians want to boycott Chinese goods | The Economist

ON OCTOBER 30th India celebrates Diwali, the most important festival in the Hindu calendar. Over five days, millions of lamps and candles will be placed on doorsteps and rooftops; prayers will be offered to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity; and fireworks will go off in the skies over the streets of nearly every town and village. A festival that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, Diwali has in recent years brightened the mood of Chinese exporters as well: many Indian households favour cheaper, electric decorations made in China over the traditional earthen diyas (pictured).

But this year’s edition could take a dark turn. The country’s noisy social media are cluttered with posts calling for Indians to shun Chinese goods. A fake letter championing the boycott, ostensibly signed Narendra Modi, the prime minister, has gone viral. Politicians from India’s ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have endorsed the cause. What is going on?

The economic roots of the boycott are not new. China is India’s largest trading partner, with $71bn worth of goods exchanged between them in the past financial year. But China is also the nation with which India has its largest trade deficit, an imbalance that rose 9% to $53bn in 2015-2016. In contrast, China’s trade surplus with America reached $367bn in 2015. What the deficit is made of matters most. China’s light-industry goods compete directly and with overwhelming success against India’s small industries, the lifeline of its manufacturing sector and a reservoir of jobs. So India exports mostly raw materials to its neighbour. That has the government worried: of the 572 anti-dumping measures India took between 1995 and 2015, 146 were aimed at Chinese-made goods. The “Make in India” campaign, which has been championed by Mr Modi and sees foreign investment as crucial to boosting his country’s manufacturing power, has been careful not to advocate protectionism. Yet in a country where economic boycotts were first popularised as a non-violent strategy to combat British rule, such appeals carry emotional and historical heft. Geopolitics provided the spark for the current call. India has long been trying to get Masood Azhar, the boss of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Pakistan-based jihadist group, listed as a terrorist by the United Nations. India suspects JeM of carrying out the January attack on an air-force base in Punjab, which killed eight Indians, including one civilian. JeM is also the alleged perpetrator of last month’s massacre at the Kashmiri garrison of Uri, in which 19 soldiers were killed (though another group claimed responsiblity). Yet twice this year, China used its Security Council veto to block Mr Azhar’s addition to the UN sanctions list. The move underscored Beijing’s all-weather support for the Pakistani establishment, elements of which India suspects of harbouring Mr Azhar. Some Indians don’t understand why they should have to trade with a nation working against their interests. This perception of China was compounded by its decision in June to oppose India’s accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-nation body that governs the global nuclear trade.

Yet calls for a boycott of Chinese-made goods are unlikely to have much effect. Both India and China are members of the World Trade Organisation, which forbids arbitrary bans on foreign goods. India’s commerce minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, recognised as much earlier this month when she said blocking imports was not a feasible option. A BJP leader deleted his tweets, blaming staff for the text; the opposition is silent on the issue. Nor is the wider business community likely to embrace the cause. Traders and industrialists, who have come to rely heavily on Chinese-made merchandise and machinery, form powerful lobbies. Yet with Mr Modi’s government promoting an increasingly assertive brand of nationalism, anger over China’s snubs will not easily go away. Expect further diplomatic fireworks.

Source: The Economist explains: Why some Indians want to boycott Chinese goods | The Economist

15/09/2016

Britain approves China-backed Hinkley Point nuclear plant deal after review of scheme | South China Morning Post

The British government said on Thursday it was giving the green light to a controversial new nuclear project at Hinkley Point after Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a review.

“Having thoroughly reviewed the proposals for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government’s agreement,” Business Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement.

Beijing calls for British nuclear project financially backed by China to proceed.

“Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.”

The board of French state-owned power company EDF approved its participation in the project in southwest England on July 28, only for Britain’s new government under May to announce hours later that it wanted to review it.China has a one-third stake in Hinkley Point and analysts have warned that Britain would have risked its relations with the world’s second-largest economy if it cancelled the costly deal.

Source: Britain approves China-backed Hinkley Point nuclear plant deal after review of scheme | South China Morning Post

24/02/2016

China Inc.’s Nuclear-Power Push – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China wants to shift from customer to competitor in the global nuclear industry as it seeks to roll out its first advanced reactor for export, a move that adds new competition for already struggling global firms.

As WSJ’s Brian Spegele reports:

  • Two state-owned firms teamed up to design the advanced indigenous Hualong One reactor with plans to sell overseas. On Tuesday, one of them, China General Nuclear Power Group, hosted dozens of business executives from Kenya, Russia, Indonesia and elsewhere, as well as diplomats and journalists, at its Daya Bay nuclear-power station to promote the Hualong One for export.
  • Asked how much of the global market share for new nuclear reactors CGN wants Hualong One to win, Zheng Dongshan, CGN’s deputy general manager in charge of international business, said: “The more the better.”
  • The move marks a turnaround for China and the nuclear-power industry. For three decades, China served as a big market for nuclear giants including U.S.-based, Japanese-owned Westinghouse Electric Co. and France’s Areva SA. More than 30 reactors have been built across China since the 1990s with reliance on foreign design and technology.

Source: China Inc.’s Nuclear-Power Push – China Real Time Report – WSJ

15/11/2015

In ‘Milestone’ Move, GM to Sell Chinese-Made Cars in U.S. – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Yale Zhang, the head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight, called the export of the Buick Envision SUV from China to the U.S. a “landmark.”

“It means that China’s manufacturing quality has met the requirements of the world’s strictest market,” he said.

GM introduced the Buick Envision SUV in China last October. Since then, it has been one of the best-selling cars sold by GM in the country. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a government-backed industry group, the Envision ranked seventh in China’s fast-growing SUV market in October, with monthly sales of 17,300 vehicles. Data from Automotive Foresight show that sales of Buick Envision SUVs totaled 100,826 cars in the period from January to September.

Despite the progress, experts say that Chinese home-grown car manufacturers will continue struggling to compete with foreign brands, even in China.

China is already the world’s largest market for cars in terms of sales and production. But global auto makers have been slow to ship Chinese vehicles to the U.S. and Europe on worries that Western buyers would shun them over quality concerns. European car maker Volvo Car Corp., which is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., was the first to challenge that assumption when it started shipping sedans from a plant in China to the U.S. this spring. A Volvo China spokesman declined to disclose how many Chinese-made Volvos have been shipped to the U.S., saying only that it is a “small volume.”

A study released by automotive industry consultants J.D. Power in October shows that although Chinese car makers have been improving in quality in recent years, they still lag behind international brands in producing reliable vehicles. According to the study, Chinese brands had 120 problems for every 100 vehicles this year, compared with 131 in 2014 and 155 in 2013. International brands had 98 problems for every 100 vehicles in 2015.

“Buick is a household brand in the U.S.,” said Ms. Li from Deren Electronic. “American consumers are probably not aware that the car is made in China. But Chinese local  auto brands, like Chery and Geely, are little known outside of China.” Victor Yang, a spokesman for Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said that as a global player, it’s normal for GM to sell its China-made cars at home in the U.S. “All the cars made by foreign companies in China should be produced in line with their global standards,” Mr. Yang said.

“Geely aims to sell its cars to developed markets including the U.S. By doing so, our quality and technology will be well recognized,” he said, without specifying a time frame. Jin Yibo, a vice president for Chery Automobile, said that Chinese home-grown auto makers “will absolutely go to the U.S. and other developed markets to sell their cars.”

But he cautioned: “It will take time.”

Source: In ‘Milestone’ Move, GM to Sell Chinese-Made Cars in U.S. – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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