China Likely to Be World's Top Exporter in 2009

China is believed to have emerged as the world's largest exporter and outpaced Japan as the world's second-largest economy this year, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported on Monday.

China's Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said at an economic forum on Sunday that China has probably replaced Germany as the world's largest exporting country in 2009.

While the country's full-year exports fell 16.5 percent on-year, declining exports in rival countries have likely increased China's share of the global export market from 8.86 percent last year to 9 percent this year, Zhong said.

Germany outpaced China by a small margin last year, accounting for 9.1 percent of global trade. But Germany's exports fell more than 34.1 percent in the first half of this year amid the global recession, while Chinese exports dropped 21.7 percent. As a result, China is believed to have become the world's top exporter after outpacing Japan in 2005 and overtaking the U.S. and now Germany. The Chinese Institute of Social Sciences went even further, saying, "China will account for 15 percent of the global export market by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020."

China's economy is also believed to have surpassed Japan's in size this year to rank second in the world after the U.S., the China Daily reported. China's National Bureau of Statistics revised the country's 2008 GDP growth rate from 9.0 percent to 9.6 percent, raising the size of the economy to US$4.6 trillion. Growth this year is expected to have surpassed 8 percent, expanding the economy to more than $4.8 trillion.

In contrast, Japan's economy which was scaled at $4.9 trillion last year is expected to have shrunk 6.6 percent this year, dropping in size to $4.6 trillion.

China was originally expected to overtake Japan in 2010, but appears to have achieved the feat a year earlier. It has already risen to the top of the world in terms of foreign exchange reserves and car sales.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 29, 2009 11:15 KST