China’s foreign trade falls in January

The value of China’s exports and its imports fell in January by more than had been forecast due to weak demand overseas and at home.

But the country’s foreign trade surplus hit a record high last month, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.

The Chinese General Administration of Customs announced that exports in yuan-denominated terms dropped in January by 6.6 percent from a year earlier, to 1.14 trillion yuan (US$175 billion), compared to the 2.3 percent growth achieved for such exports in December.

The value of China’s January imports contracted by 14.4 percent year-on-year, to 737.5 billion yuan last month, a weaker performance than the 4-percent fall recorded in December, it added.

The foreign trade surplus of China widened 12.2 percent from the previous year to a record high of 406.2 billion yuan in January, the customs administration noted.

Xinhua quoted lender HSBC saying in a research note that the lacklustre performance in January was due to the overall lack of external demand and falling commodity prices.