China trade growth less than ex­pected

New Straits Times - - Business -

BEI­JING: China’s ex­ports and im­ports grew much less than ex­pected last month, rais­ing con­cerns over whether global de­mand is start­ing to cool even as ma­jor Western cen­tral banks con­sider scal­ing back years of mas­sive stim­u­lus sup­port.

China and Europe have been driv­ing an in­creas­ing share of global growth this year as po­lit­i­cal con­flict stymies stim­u­lus poli­cies be­ing pushed by United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

But while China’s over­all trade con­tin­ued to grow at a healthy clip last month, at 8.8 per cent it was the slow­est rate this year.

Some an­a­lysts chalked up the softer read­ings to seasonal or one-off fac­tors, but oth­ers said weaker im­port growth could be the first tan­gi­ble sign of a long­ex­pected slow­down in the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy af­ter a sur­pris­ingly strong first half.

“Ex­ter­nal de­mand is not re­ally wor­ry­ing in terms of the out­look,” said Ray­mond Ye­ung, chief econ­o­mist for Greater China at ANZ in Hong Kong.

China’s ex­port growth slowed to 7.2 per cent last month from a year ear­lier, the weak­est pace since Fe­bru­ary and cool­ing from a 11.3 per cent rise in June, data showed yes­ter­day. An­a­lysts had ex­pected a 10.9 per cent gain.

China’s im­ports rose 11.0 per cent, the slow­est growth since De­cem­ber and down from a 17.2 per cent rise in the pre­vi­ous month. That also missed ex­pec­ta­tions of 16.6 per cent growth.

That left the coun­try with a trade sur­plus of US$46.74 bil­lion (RM200 bil­lion) for the month, the high­est since Jan­uary, com­pared with fore­casts for US$46.08 bil­lion and June’s US$42.77 bil­lion.

AFP PIC

China’s ex­port growth slowed to 7.2 per cent last month from a year ear­lier, the weak­est pace since Fe­bru­ary and cool­ing from a 11.3 per cent rise in

June.

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