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New orders for Chinese shipbuilders sink on choppy seas of world economic slowdown

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BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese shipbuilding industry suffered drastic declines in new orders in September this year, as the growth of the global ocean shipping market almost stalled amid economic slowdown, China's top economic planner said Tuesday.

New shipbuilding orders in September fell to 940,000 deadweight tonnes (DWT), the lowest monthly figure since June 2009, according to a report on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

About 30 percent of China's 1,526 shipbuilding enterprises received no new orders in September, forcing some of the smaller and mid-sized ones to shut or stop production, said the NDRC.

As a result of shrinking orders and rising costs, 249 enterprises suffered losses in the first three quarters of 2011, 37.9 percent more than a year ago. Their total loses stood at 2.66 billion yuan (420 million U.S. dollars) at the end of August, according to the report.

For the first three quarters, new shipbuilding orders slumped 42.8 percent year-on-year to 29.02 million DWT, while incomplete orders dropped 13.8 percent to 168.86 million DWT.

Shipbuilding output totaled 51.01 million DWT from January to September, representing an increase of 18.3 percent from the previous year. The DWT of completed ships for exports stood at 43.05 million, or 84.4 percent of China's total output, according to the NDRC.

The China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry (CANSI) projected the country's shipbuilding industry will continue to slow moderately in the fourth quarter, with a downbeat outlook for new orders and sharp declines in existing orders.

CANSI predicted more than 60 million DWT of ships will be completed this year.

Also, the China Newbuilding Price Index, which is based on calculations of shipbuilding companies' delivery, new orders and incomplete orders, continued to weaken, by 0.3 percent to 952 points during the reporting period between Oct. 15 and Oct. 30.

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