New data released today (September 8th) highlighted a fall in China's imports, which fuelled worries about the health of the world's second largest economy. While the country's exports fell less than expected in August, imports slid beyond forecasts.
In August, they fell 14.3 per cent in yuan-denominated terms from a year ago, while exports fell by 6.1 per cent. China's monthly trade surplus expanded by around 40 per cent compared with July to 368 billion yuan (£37.7 billion).
According to analysts quoted by the BBC, the fall in the value of imports is due to lower commodity prices, particularly crude oil. "Trade growth remained subdued last month but there are good reasons to think that the outlook is brighter than many believe," Julian Evans-Pritchard, from research company Capital Economics, told the Wall Street Journal.
"It will get worse before it gets better"
"The return to negative export growth over the last couple of months has more to do with what happened a year ago than the current health of exports – shipments strengthened markedly in the second half of 2014, resulting in a less flattering base for comparison which has dragged down on-year growth," he added.
"China’s economy will get worse before it gets better," Yu Yongding, a Chinese economist, also told the newspaper.
The new imports data is the latest in a string of weak economic data highlighting the country’s struggling stocks, sluggish property market and weak demand at home and abroad.
It comes after the release of a survey showing Chinese manufacturing contracted at the fastest pace since the 2009.
The preliminary version of the Caixin purchasing managers' index, a manufacturing index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, fell to an unexpectedly low 47.1 points from July's 47.8 points.
July data also showed the country's exports fell by 8.3 per cent, which led the People's Bank of China (PBOC) to devalue the yuan, arguing that the way it sets exchange rates would now become more market-oriented.
China's economy expanded 7.4 per cent last year, its weakest since 1990, and has slowed further this year.
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