China’s trade falls 7 pct in 2015

China’s total trade value fell 7 percent year-on-year to 24.59 trillion yuan (US$3.73 trillion) in 2015, the Chinese General Administration of Customs announced on Wednesday.

It was the fourth year in a row that external trade missed the official target, which was set at a growth rate of 6 percent for 2015.

China’s exports were down by 1.8 percent year-on-year to 14.14 trillion yuan last year, the first annual decline since 2010. The country’s imports plunged 13.2 percent to 10.45 trillion yuan in 2015, the Customs said.

Customs spokesperson Huang Songping said in a press conference that the slump in trade was due to the economic slowdown across the globe, the fall in commodity prices and sluggish demand. He forecast trade in 2016 to “remain at the same level as last year”.

In December, China’s exports climbed 2.3 percent year-on-year to 1.43 trillion yuan while imports dropped 4 percent to 1.05 trillion yuan.

The better-than-expected results in December were due to the devaluation of the yuan, Mr Huang said. “This [rebound in exports] doesn’t represent a trend [for 2016],” he added. “The situation in the first quarter will still be relatively severe”, he said.