Exports set back, imports flat in June

Updated: 2013-07-11 01:34

By LI JIABAO in Beijing and QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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Exports set back, imports flat in June

A shopper visits the imported food section at a supermarket in Xuchang, Henan province, on Sunday. China's imports totaled $147.19 billion in June, down 0.7 percent year-on-year. GENG GUOQING / FOR CHINA DAILY 

Outlook for the rest of the year looks equally bleak, say observers

China's exports in June unexpectedly declined, adding to the slowdown in the world's second-largest economy as the new leadership strives for economic transformation and upgrading.

Meanwhile, a decrease in imports in June suggested little improvement in domestic demand amid credit tightening and manufacturing overcapacity.

Exports in June dropped 3.1 percent from a year earlier to $174.32 billion, the most since October 2009, while imports edged down 0.7 percent year-on-year to $147.19 billion, the General Administration of Customs said on Wednesday. Overall foreign trade shrank 2 percent year-on-year to $321.51 billion in June with a trade surplus of $27.13 billion.

Exports in May rose 1 percent from a year earlier and imports fell 0.3 percent.

"Exports and imports eased remarkably in the first half of this year and the picture is especially pessimistic in May and June," Zheng Yuesheng, a spokesman for the customs agency, told a news conference on Wednesday. "The severe challenges confronting China's foreign trade at present will remain in place in the second half of this year. The ultimate solution lies in transforming growth patterns and restructuring commodities so as to stabilize China's share in global trade."

He attributed the June export slump mainly to weak global demand, rising foreign exchange and labor costs and frequent trade friction. He added slowing industrial activity and overcapacity in China subdued its imports of raw materials.

China's exports to developed economies — the United States, the European Union and Japan — and developing economies both contracted in June. Exports to the US, China's second-biggest trade partner and largest export market last year, declined 5.02 percent year-on-year in June, compared with a 1.6 percent drop in May.

"The June trade data are worse than expected and weak overseas demand took a further toll on exports, putting more pressure on China's economic downturn," said Nie Wen, a Shanghai-based economist at Huabao Trust Co.

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