China’s trade data for the month of February turned out weaker than anticipated, underlining a further loss of momentum in the world’s second largest economy and stirring concerns about a trade recession, despite a series of support measures.
Customs data released on Friday showed dollar-denominated exports dropped 20.7 percent last month from the prior year, ending much lower than the expected 4.8 percent fall and marking as the biggest slump since February 2016. The latest figure followed a 9.1 percent increase registered in January.
Imports stumbled 5.2 percent from a year ago, also below analysts’ average estimate of a 1.4 percent decline and extending from January’s 1.5 percent loss. Imports of major commodities were down across the board.
Chief Economist Raymond Yeung said today’s figures reinforced their view that China’s trade recession has started to emerge.
Trade balance faltered in February at $4.12 billion which significantly missed forecast of $26.38 billion. The country posted a trade balance of $39.16 billion in January.
China’s politically sensitive trade surplus with the US contracted sharply to $14.72 billion in the prior month from January’s $27.3 billion.