China’s trade activity drops in January

China’s trade activity drops in January

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China’s trade activity drops in January

A worker goes about her chores at a textile factory in Huaibei, Anhui, Feb 10. AFP photo

China’s trade activity fell in January from a year earlier, data showed on Feb. 10, as a domestic slowdown, overseas turmoil and factory closures during the Lunar New Year holiday hit demand.

Exports fell 0.5 percent year-on-year in January to $149.94 billion while imports plunged 15.3 percent to $122.66 billion, customs said in a statement, marking the worst trade data since 2009 during the global financial crisis.

However, China’s politically sensitive trade surplus -a constant bugbear for its major trade partners - widened to $27.28 billion in January from $16.52 billion in the previous month, the statement said.
Analysts have cautioned that the January data had been distorted by the earlier-than-usual Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, which fell in January this year.

Many of China’s factories and businesses cut back production or close their doors during the holiday so employees can travel home to celebrate the most important festival in the Chinese calendar with their families.

Even so, analysts said the latest trade figures added to mounting evidence that the world’s second-largest economy was slowing as the eurozone crisis and weakness in the United States hurt demand for Chinese products.

The double-digit fall in imports also reflected “extremely weak domestic demand as investment slumps”, said Alistair Thornton, a Beijing-based analyst at IHS Global Insight.