China foreign trade declines over first three quarters

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China’s foreign trade shrank by nearly 8 per cent in the first three quarters of the year, official figures showed Tuesday.

Between January and September, the value of foreign trade was 17.9 trillion yuan (2.8 trillion dollars), a decrease of 7.9 per cent on the same period last year, according to customs authorities.

Exports were down 1.8 per cent and imports were down 15.1 per cent in the same nine months, more than analysts had thought.

The country’s trade surplus surged by 82 per cent to 2.6 trillion yuan (411 billion dollars) in the same period.

The figures for the month of September, with foreign trade dropping 8.8 per cent year on year, was less severe than the 9.7-per-cent contraction in August.

“On the bright side, low commodity prices continue to underpin a sharp decline in imports and hence a large trade surplus,” the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) said in a note Tuesday on the new figures.

“We forecast that the total trade balance will likely reach around USD 600 billion in 2015. This amount will help offset the pressure of portfolio outflows,” the bank said.

Analysts say China is struggling to meet its growth target for 2015 of about 7 per cent amid sluggish investment growth and falling exports.

China revised down 2014 GDP growth from 7.4 to 7.3 per cent, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years.

Analysts expect Beijing to continue fiscal stimulus measures amid growing concern over the slowing of the world’s second-largest economy.

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