Econintersect: China announced a decline in March 2014 exports from a year ago. This was the second consecutive month month of export decline after three strong year-over-year gains the three months before that. The decline for March (6.6%) was much less than the decline 0f 18% for February but was very far below the 4.0% gain expected. Perhaps of greater concern at this point was the concurrent decline by 11.3% for imports in March (year-over-year). This is an unexpected decline in domestic demand for China. The balance of trade managed to stay positive by a narrow $7 billion margin. Graphics follow the Read more >> jump.
Graphics of China's trade numbers from Trading Economics:
Note: Dips in the balance of trade in the first quarter is a recurring event and negative balance of trade months occurred in the first quarter for each of the last four years.
Some excerpts and quotes from around the web
Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics (BBC News Business):
"Looking ahead, improving conditions in developed economies should continue to support Chinese exports. In contrast, we expect import growth to remain relatively weak as slowing investment spending is likely to weigh on imports of commodities and capital goods. As a result, China's trade surplus is likely to rebound further over the coming year."
Simon Rabinovtch, Financial Times:
The weak export figures at the start of the year have sent analysts scurrying to downgrade their forecasts for China's economy. They now expect it to grow 7.4 per cent this year, its weakest since 1990 and down from 7.7 per cent last year.
Spokesman for China's customs administration, Financial Times:
"Our country's international trade is really encountering some difficulties, but we should not over-estimate the problems."
Louis Kuijis, The New York Times:
"Do not worry about the export data, but what about imports?"
- China March exports, imports fall sharply (BBC News Business, 10 April 2014)
- China rattles nerves with weak trade data (Simon Rabinovitch, Financial Times, 10 April 2014)
- Chinese Exports and Imports Unexpectedly Fell in March (Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, 09 April 2014)
- China Economic Indicators (Trading Economics)