China’s exports shrink unexpectedly as global slowdown jolts demand, trade data
China’s exports declined in the first three months of 2017, driven by the slowing global economy, official data showed on Thursday, adding to signs the world’s second-largest economy has entered its most difficult period since the global financial crisis.
Trade in China’s outward-directed mode, which accounts for roughly 40 percent of economic output, shrank 10.8 percent in the first quarter of the year as imports jumped 11.2 percent, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
The fall was not as sharp as that of the previous quarter, which had been in line with forecasts and would have been one of the better readings among the major economies. But it was a fresh indicator of the deepening slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
“This is a bit of a disappointment,” said Peter Lardner, senior economist at Capital Economics, in a phone interview. “It was widely expected. I do think they are feeling the pinch quite strongly.”
Exports had been expected to grow by 5.1 percent in the April-June period, according to Bloomberg.
The decline was driven by weakening demand from the U.S. and by the U.S.-China trade war, as well as rising imports of iron ore, coal and other raw materials from elsewhere in the world.
Imports from the world’s major economies were up 3.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, reflecting rising demand for industrial goods from the U.S. and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Imports to China, meanwhile, dropped 13.4 percent, reflecting weak demand for consumer goods and other goods from the world’s major economies.
In contrast, exports from China increased 8.4 percent in the first quarter, led by a 17.6 percent increase in services exports, according to data from the statistics bureau. Raw materials and materials exports climbed 17.6 percent and export orders grew 11.4 percent.
“Although the official data looks poor given the strong rebound in exports and imports, we believe there is a reason for it,” Lardner