China Posts Worst Export Fall Since 2009
BEIJING: China's massive export engine sputtered for the second year in a row in 2016, with shipments falling in the face of persistently weak global demand and officials voicing fears of a trade war with the United States that is clouding the outlook for 2017.
The world's largest trading nation posted gloomy data, with 2016 exports falling 7.7 percent and imports down 5.5 percent. The export drop was the second annual decline in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2009.
It will be tough for foreign trade to improve this year, especially if the inauguration of Trump and other major political changes limit the growth of China's exports due to greater protectionist measures, the Country's customs agency said recently.
"The trend of anti-globalization is becoming increasingly evident, and China is the biggest victim of this trend," Customs spokesman Huang Songping said.
"We will pay close attention to Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) after Trump is inaugurated President," Huang said.
China's December exports fell by a more-than-expected 6.1 percent on-year, while imports beat forecasts slightly, growing 3.1 percent on its strong demand for commodities which has helped buoy global resources prices.
An unexpected 0.1 percent rise in shipments in November, while scant, had raised hopes that China was catching up to an export improvement being seen in some other Asian economies. China reported a trade surplus of $40.82 billion for December, versus November's $44.61 billion.
While the export picture has been grim all year, with shipments rising in only two months out of 12, import trends have been more encouraging of late, pointing to a pick-up in domestic demand as companies brought in more raw materials from iron ore to copper to help feed a construction boom.