Nothing makes our Fridays like a good dose of foreign trade data. Ever happy to oblige, the Commerce Ministry has released the December figures, but the news isn’t all that good. It seems that foreign direct investment fell 5.7% to US$5.98 billion in December, making for the third consecutive month of declines. The number of foreign companies being set up in China has dropped significantly, though European investors are, for now, appearing hardier than their cosseted American cousins. Speaking of cosseted, residents of Shanghai can expect some hard times ahead. The city’s Party chief went on record as saying the financial crisis has hit Shanghai, and would probably prevent the local government from lowering taxes in 2009. Fortunately, those hard-up for cash may find it easier to borrow money given signs that policies easing access to credit are kicking in. But nothing is hurting as badly as the environment. A new survey by a government non-profit organization showed that more people than ever – 80% of respondents – think that China’s environment was “extremely” or “fairly” bad in 2008. That just about kills our trade data buzz.