Chinese exports tumbled 8.3 percent in July, their biggest drop in four months and far worse than expected, reinforcing expectations that Beijing will be forced to roll out more stimulus to support the world’s second-largest economy.
Imports also fell heavily from a year earlier, in line with market forecasts but suggesting domestic demand might be too feeble to offset the weaker global demand for China’s exports.
Economists had forecast exports to fall just 1 percent, after a 2.8 percent uptick in June, but the data on Saturday showed depressed demand from Europe and the first drop in exports to the United States, China’s biggest market, since March.
Exports to the European Union fell 12.3 percent in July while those to the United States dropped 1.3 percent. Demand from Japan, another big trading partner, slid 13 percent.
“A recovery in external demand remains far off and economic growth will continue to rely on domestic demand, which implies policies should continue to be relaxed in the second half,” wrote Qu Hongbin, China economist at global bank HSBC.
Imports fell 8.1 percent, according to the data from the General Administration of Customs. That compared with forecasts for an 8 percent drop, after a 6.1 percent decline in June, though these falls also reflected weaker commodity prices.
China recorded a trade surplus of $43.03 billion for the month, below forecasts of $53.25 billion.
The July trade data could further dim hopes for an economic turnaround in the second half of this year, after a few signs of stabilization had emerged in June. Read more