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China imports, exports slump in July: Customs

Update: August, 08/2016 - 11:40

BEIJING — China’s imports and exports both slumped in July, with its purchases plummeting by 12.5 percent, Customs said Monday, in the latest poor figures from the world’s second-largest economy.

Measured in US dollars, imports fell to $132.4 billion. The drop was significantly larger than the 7.0 percent median forecast in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News.

Exports also fell in dollar terms, dropping 4.4 percent to $184.7 billion and also below expectations of a 3.5 percent decline.

As the world’s biggest trader in goods, China is crucial to the global economy and its performance affects partners from Australia to Zambia, which have been battered by its slowing growth -- while it faces headwinds itself in key developed markets.

The July figures were the fourth month in a row that exports declined in dollar terms.

Its imports have been shrinking since late 2014 with global commodity prices hammered as the country’s once blistering expansion lost steam, slowed down by manufacturing overcapacity, a slowing property market and mounting debt.

July was the biggest monthly fall in imports since February, when they lost 13.8 percent.

Total trade volume with the European Union, China’s biggest trading partner, rose 1.8 percent in the first seven months of the year, Customs said in a statement, and was up 0.8 percent with Japan.

But it fell 4.8 percent with the US, data showed.

China’s Customs administration releases trade figures in the country’s own yuan currency first, before later issuing a US dollar figure -- which more clearly illustrates its impact on the rest of the world.

In yuan terms, exports rose 2.90 percent year-on-year to 1.22 trillion yuan, with imports falling 5.70 percent to 873 billion yuan. — AFP

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