Chinese exports fall

BY Xinhua,
Beijing : China’s exports fell 25.7 percent year-on-year in February, the fourth straight monthly decline, as global demand shrank, the General Administration of Customs said Wednesday.

The exports contracted to $64.90 billion while imports slumped 24.1 percent to $60.05 billion.

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The sharp declines reflect weakening external demand, which would persist throughout the year as the global recession deepens, said Zhang Junsheng, an economics professor at the University of International Business and Economics.

“These huge falls were inevitable, given the global downturn,” he said.

While China was “psychologically prepared” for the export slump, said Xuo Xiaolei, chief economist with Galaxy Securities, the narrowing of the trade surplus was eye-catching.

The surplus shrank to $4.84 billion, less than one-seventh of the figure for January.

“The slumping trade surplus tells us that we can’t pin too much hope on trade to meet the 8 percent growth target for this year,” she said.

Total foreign trade was $124.95 billion in February, down 24.9 percent year-on-year.

Processing trade, which comprised more than half of the total, declined much faster than general trade, the customs agency said.

Garment and accessory exports fell 11 percent to $14.62 billion, while those of toys sank 17.1 percent to $850 million.

Exports have played a key part in powering the world’s third-largest economy. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter last year, the worst showing in seven years, as the global downturn sapped demands for Chinese goods.