BEIJING, July 10 China's exports fell 3.1
percent in June from a year earlier, the first decline since
January 2012, while imports dropped 0.7 percent, severely
missing market expectations and reinforcing signs of a economic
slowdown in the second quarter.
The downbeat trade data follow the government's crackdown on
the use of fake export shipment documents to close a loophole
for short-term money inflows which had exaggerated China's
Economists had expected exports to grow 4.0 percent and
imports to rise 8.0 percent last month.
China's exports to the United States - the country's biggest
export market, fell 5.4 percent in June from a year earlier,
while export to the European Unison dropped 8.3 percent,
according to the customs.
"The surprisingly weak June exports show China's economy is
facing increasing downward pressure on lacklustre external
demand," said Li Huiyong, an economist at Shenyin & Wanguo
Securities in Shanghai
"Exports are facing challenges in the second half of this
year. The appreciation of U.S. dollar and the Chinese
government's recent crackdown on speculative trade activities
also put pressure on exports."
China had a trade surplus of $27.1 billion in June, the
customs administration said in a news briefing, largely in line
with $27.0 billion expected by economists.
China's trade data are volatile and distorted by speculative
capital flows across the country's border. Doubts about the
accuracy of the figures have abated slightly since the customs
office and top foreign exchange regulator launched a campaign in
May to crack down on fake export claims.
China's reform-minded new leaders have shown a great
tolerance of slower growth, although they still need to avoid
widespread job losses that could threaten social stability.
Economists expect annual growth in China to slow down to 7.5
percent in the April-June period, with no recovery in sight yet,
testing the top leaders' resolve to tolerate a slowdown in the
short run while press ahead with efforts to revamp its economy
for the long-term good.