Chinese exports drop for second month in a row

The global economic slowdown caused Chinese exports to drop for a second successive month in December, though a 21.3% slide in imports means the country posted its second-largest trade surplus on record.


AFP - Chinese exports extended their decline into a second month in December as the global crisis continued to hurt its heavily trade-dependent economy, state media reported Tuesday.

Imports dropped even more sharply, leaving China with its second-largest trade surplus ever, according to customs figures published in the China Daily.

Exports from the world's fourth-largest economy dropped 2.8 percent in December from a year earlier to 111.2 billion dollars, the paper said. It was the biggest fall in a decade, according to economists.

This followed a decline of 2.2 percent in November, which was the first time in seven years that Chinese exports had fallen at all.

As the global economic crisis worsens, China is expected to record even worse data in the coming months, said Xu Jian, a Beijing-based economist with China International Capital Corp.

"The fall in exports will probably get worse with the United States, Japan and Europe in recession," he told AFP, adding that the December drop in exports was the worst since April 1999.

Imports in December were down by 21.3 percent to 72.2 billion dollars, the China Daily said, suggesting a rapid contraction in domestic economic activity.

The World Bank has warned that China's economy will expand by just 7.5 percent in 2009, the lowest level since 1990.

The trade surplus last month came to 39 billion dollars, the customs data showed.

This is the second-highest on record, only surpassed by the 40.1 billion dollars in November, which had also resulted mainly from a steep decline in imports.

The figure suggests that China's full-year trade surplus was 295 billion dollars, a rise of about 13 percent from 2007.

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