China's exports and imports plummet in February


Beijing (AFP)

China's exports and imports plummeted much more than expected in February, official data showed Friday, adding to worries about slowing growth in the world's number two economy as it fights a trade war with the US.

Overseas shipments sank 20.7 percent on-year and imports fell 5.2 percent, the customs administration, much worse than the 5.0 percent and 0.6 percent drops forecast in a Bloomberg News poll.

"Today's trade figures reinforce our view that China's trade recession has started to emerge," said Raymond Yeung of ANZ bank.

"Looking ahead, we find little reason to expect a rebound in the near term on the back of a sluggish global electronics cycle," said Yeung.

Recent economic data point to the difficulties China faces with growth in the last three months of 2018 clocking in at 6.4 percent.

In January, an important barometer of prices in the country's industrial sector neared contraction territory while manufacturing activity saw its worst performance in three years in February.

Worries have grown about slowing global growth with the European Central Bank slashing its 2019 eurozone growth and inflation forecasts on Thursday, citing "uncertainties" around geopolitical risks and trade rows for the slowdown.

However, analysts caution it is difficult to compare trends at the start of the year due to the Chinese New Year holiday, which came in early February this year and can affect business activity.

China's exports had unexpectedly risen in January, data showed last month.