We received a sneak peek at China’s first half export figures, courtesy of Vice Commerce Minister Yi Xiaozhun. Speaking at a forum in Beijing, Yi said that exports from January to June fell by 21.7% year-on-year, a slight improvement from the first five months of 2009. The general feeling is that China’s economy is getting back on track for respectable, if not stellar, growth. But the country’s going to need fuel to keep the engine humming and a Sino-French group comprising Total SA and CNPC is said to be jointly bidding for two large oil blocks in Venezuela. CNPC and BP recently won a contract for Iraq’s largest oil field, the only successful deal to emerge from the recent Iraq licensing round. Meanwhile, another Chinese corporate is testing overseas waters. Beijing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC) has submitted a non-binding bid for Opel, a German auto unit of beleaguered General Motors. Canadian auto parts maker Magna is expected to ultimately win Opel, but German officials are being cagey, saying that "justifiable question marks" hang over the Magna deal.