China's trade performance remains weak in November

Amid fears of global economic slowdown Chinese exports fall more than expected in November causing global markets, oil to decline on Tuesday’s trading

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

China's trade performance remained weak in November, casting doubt on hopes that the world's second-largest economy would level off in the fourth quarter and spelling more pain for its major trading partners.

The sluggish readings will reinforce expectations of economists and investors that the government will have to do more to stimulate domestic consumption in coming months given persistent weakness in global demand.

Exports fell a worse-than-expected 6.8 percent from a year earlier, their fifth straight month of decline, while imports tumbled 8.7 percent, their 13th drop in a row.

Imports did not slide as much as some economists had feared, but analysts were unsure if that signaled a possible improvement in soft Chinese domestic demand, which has been a key factor in driving world commodity prices to multi-year lows.

While some market watchers have pointed the blame squarely on China for this year's global trade slowdown, the latest data highlighted weak demand globally, with China's shipments to every major destination, except South Korea, declining year-on-year.

In a bid to avert a sharper economic slowdown, China's central bank has already cut interest rates six times since last November and reduced the amount of cash that banks must set aside as reserves, while the government has eased restrictions on home buying to boost the sluggish property market and is trying to ramp up infrastructure spending.

China also announced a number of policies last month to encourage foreign trade and help exporters, admitting that the picture for foreign trade was "complicated and grim".

Economic growth dipped to 6.9 percent in the third quarter, dropping below the 7 percent mark for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Premier Li Keqiang said last week that China was on track to reach its economic growth target of about 7 percent this year, and the economy was going through adjustments to maintain reasonable medium- to long-term growth.

But that would still mark China's weakest economic expansion in a quarter of a century, and some analysts believe real growth levels are much weaker than official data suggest.