China exports, imports slump in January: Customs
Chinese trade slumped in January, authorities said today, as both exports and imports tumbled with feeble domestic and global demand dragging on the world's second-largest economy.
Beijing: Chinese trade slumped in January, authorities said today, as both exports and imports tumbled with feeble domestic and global demand dragging on the world's second-largest economy.
Exports dropped 11.2 percent year-on-year to USD 177.5 billion in dollar terms, Customs said, while imports plummeted 18.8 percent to USD 114.2 billion -- giving the Asian giant a record monthly trade surplus of USD 63.3 billion.
Tremors in overseas markets and weakness in partner economies have weighed on China, a main driver of the world's economic growth, and the globe's largest trader in goods.
Rock-bottom prices for commodities such as oil and slowing growth in infrastructure spending have hit China's import values, while exports have been hurt by frail overseas demand, along with rising labour costs and the increasing competitiveness of rival economies.
"We believe the slump in trade growth mainly reflects weakening investment demand, possibly from weaker property investment and measures to reduce overcapacity," wrote Nomura analyst Zhao Yang.
The figures were far worse than expected, with economists forecasting a 1.8 percent fall in exports in a Bloomberg News survey, and a 3.6 percent slide in imports.
China's economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015 -- the lowest rate since 1990 -- and is expected to slow further this year, with the darkening perspective contributing to plunges in global stock markets in recent weeks.
It has also been a factor in the decline of the yuan currency in recent months, but analysts said the record trade surplus gave Chinese officials some breathing room to cope with the floods of cash that have flowed out of the country.
On Monday the yuan leapt up more than one percent in onshore trade, its biggest gain for more than a decade according to Bloomberg News.