Chinese exports fell 7.3% year on year in October, more than expected, highlighting the plunge in September this gloom international demand, said Tuesday the administration of Customs.
The Asian giant, the main commercial power in the world, saw its exports melt last month to 178.2 billion dollars, after a 10% decline in September, reflecting a precarious international situation.
The experts surveyed by the Bloomberg financial agency expected a more moderate decline (-6%).
For their part, imports fell by 1.4% year on year, to $ 129.1 billion, again more strongly than expected –which reflects domestic demand remains extremely precarious, especially on slower background manufacturing.
Customs statistics are carefully scrutinized by the markets to gauge the health of the second world economy: foreign trade remains a pillar of China’s GDP and a traditional engine of growth.
These disappointing figures, which follow a real cold shower for China’s foreign trade in September, are part of a bigger picture already morose.
In China the industry is still weighed down by massive excess production capacity and a strong slowdown in production; the surge of public and private debt worries; growth has resisted in the third quarter thanks to an alarming bubble in the property sector.
Weighted by the decline in exports, the trade surplus stood at $ 49.1 billion in October, down year on year, but better than the $ 42 billion recorded in the previous month.
The Chinese government is trying to rebalance the country’s growth model toward services, new technologies and domestic consumption at the expense of heavy industries and –justement– of low value-added exports. But the transition proves painful.
“After the very disappointing series of trade statistics in September, figures released by Customs appear reassuring,” even if they are below expectations, says Julian Evans-Pritchard, analyst firm Capital Economics.
“But as it is unlikely that the global economic growth and that of China accelerate significantly, the prospects of China’s trade in the medium term remain difficult,” he tempers soon. “The margin for a significant improvement in global demand –and consequently chinoises– exports is probably very limited.”