China Jan-Feb imports and exports down as virus batters trade and business
CHINA's exports contracted sharply in the first two months of the year, and imports declined, as the coronavirus outbreak caused massive disruptions to business operations, global supply chains and economic activity
CHINA's exports contracted sharply in the first two months of the year, and imports declined, as the coronavirus outbreak caused massive disruptions to business operations, global supply chains and economic activity.
According to China's Customs data, exports fell 17.2 per cent in January-February from the same period a year earlier, marking the steepest fall since February 2019, Reuters reported.
That compared with a 14 per cent drop tipped by a Reuters poll of analysts and a 7.9 per cent gain in December.
Imports dipped 4 per cent from a year earlier, but were better than market expectations of a 15 per cent drop. They had jumped 16.5 per cent in December, buoyed in part by a preliminary Sino-US trade deal.
China ran a trade deficit of US$7.09 billion for the two-month period, reversing an expected $24.6 billion surplus in the poll.
Factory activity contracted at the fastest pace ever in February, even worse than during the global financial crisis, an official manufacturing gauge showed last weekend, with a sharp slump in new orders. A private survey highlighted similarly dire conditions.
The gloomy trade report is likely to reinforce fears that China's economic growth halved in the first quarter to the weakest since 1990 as the epidemic and strict government containment measures crippled factory production and led to a sharp slump in demand.
Based on Chinese Customs data, Reuters calculated that China's trade surplus with the US for the first two months of the year stood at $25.37 billion, much narrower than a surplus of $42.16 billion in the same period last year.
Soybean imports in the first two months of 2020 rose by 14.2 per cent year on year as cargoes from the US booked during a trade truce at the end of 2019 cleared customs.