Thursday, October 16, 2008

Interpreting the data

We said earlier in the week "watch this space" for updates on the barometer of economic activity which is the Canton Fair and its Hong Kong counterparts. The organisers are understandably being a bit coy about early releases of visitor figures. The South China Morning Post (still behind it's firewall, sorry) this morning quotes one exhibitor in Guangzhou suggesting that "the organisers lost 70 per cent of the usual attendees".

I doubt that's true, but read with more interest the accompanying story where interpreters lined up outside the hall, offering their services to visitors were interviewed. Spanish interpreters, it seems are still in demand although their rates have dropped from Rmb700 a day for the Spring Fair in April to Rmb500. English interpreters, obviously more plentiful, are struggling to find takers at Rmb200 - 300 a day while one girl was (unsuccessfully) offering Rmb150 (around US$20).

But, even with cut rates, there weren't enough buyers to go around and the reporter describes large groups of interpreters waiting all day outside the Pazhou exhibition complex. There you have it folks: the sharp end of the global economic crisis.

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