China’s exports declined for a fourth straight month in October, adding to signs of mounting headwinds facing the world’s second-largest economy.
Overseas shipments dropped 3.6 percent in October in yuan terms, the customs administration said Sunday, compared with a 1.1 percent decline in September. Imports fell for a 12th straight month, declining 16 percent in yuan terms, after a 17.7 percent decrease the prior month. The trade surplus was 393.2 billion yuan ($61.9 billion).
“Chinese exports continue to face structural headwinds due to weak demand in key markets” such as the European Union and Japan, said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Singapore. "Exports have also been impacted by the more recent growth slowdown in emerging markets, which had become fast-growing markets for Chinese exports in recent years.”
The report signals that the People’s Bank of China is still struggling against economic headwinds even after cutting the main interest rate six times in the last year, most recently in October, and a surprise devaluation of the currency in August. The economy grew 6.9 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, the slowest quarterly expansion since the first three months of 2009, and full-year output is on pace for the weakest growth in a quarter century.
Exports to Japan slumped 9 percent in the first 10 months of the year from a year earlier, while those to European Union declined 3.7 percent, according to the statement. Shipments to Hong Kong dropped 11.7 percent during the same period.
China’s exports to the U.S., its largest trading partner, jumped 5.8 percent in the first 10 months from a year earlier, while those to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations increased 4.2 percent. Shipments to India rose 8.9 percent.
Imports from all 10 of the major trade partners listed by the customs administration declined in the first ten months. Australia’s imports plunged 25.7 percent.