Chinese export and import growth slowed more than expected in July, adding to a string of downbeat data released this week. The data paints a bleak economic picture, especially as the world's second largest economy has seen its GDP growth ease to the lowest in more than three years in the second quarter.
Exports grew just 1 percent year-on-year in July, decelerating from the 11.3 percent growth reported for June, the latest figures from the General Administration of Customs showed Friday. Economists had forecast a relatively modest slowdown to 8 percent.
Imports also rose at a slower rate in July. Overseas purchases increased at a pace of 4.7 percent year-on-year compared to a 6.3 percent rise in June. Economists expected import growth to pick up to a 7 percent pace.
While the slowdown in exports reflected weak demand from key overseas markets including Europe, the subdued growth in imports adds to evidence that demand at home is also taking a hit from the global gloom.
On a month-on-month basis, exports fell 1.8 percent and imports rose 2.3 percent. The trade balance was a surplus of $25.15 billion, down from June's $31.72 billion. This was expected to rise to $35.05 billion.
Policymakers are working to reduce the economy's reliance on exports and fine-tune policies to regain the growth momentum.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday revealed that industrial production growth eased to 9.2 percent in June and that of retail sales slowed to 13.1 percent.
The economy grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the weakest pace since the first quarter of 2009. The International Monetary Fund expects China's economic growth to moderate to around 8 percent this year.
China announced late Thursday that it is hiking prices of gasoline and diesel in response to rising crude prices in the international market. It has cut fuel prices three times between May and July. Official data released earlier on Thursday showed inflation eased to a 30-month low of 1.8 percent in July.
by RTT Staff Writer
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