Chinese exports up in June, ending three-month slide

<p>While exports grew last month, demand remains weak.</p>

Chinese exports grew in June, ending a three-month slide, but the country continued to struggle with weak demand from Europe and the US.

Exports last month were up 2.1 per cent in yuan-denominated terms compared with a year ago, up to 1.17 trillion yuan (£121 billion), data from the General Administration of Customs showed today (July 13th). This beat expectations of a 0.5 per cent increase by 14 economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. It also ends a three months slide, with exports tumbling 2.5 per cent in May.

Meanwhile, imports in June were down 6.1 per cent from a year earlier, taking the trade surplus 45 per cent higher to 284.2 billion yuan.

"The rise in China's export growth was consistent with better exports elsewhere, such as Korea, suggesting that external demand may have improved. The smaller contraction in imports in June, despite lower commodity prices, points to a sequential improvement in domestic demand," Yang Zhao, economist at Nomura, wrote in a note seen by CNBC.

Weak global demand

However, exports continue to suffer from sluggish external demand, rising labour costs and a stronger currency, the General Administration of Customs said today. It added the debt crisis in Greece was also having an impact on trade.

It said exports should grow faster in the second half of the year than in the first half, while imports are forecast to decline less sharply for the rest of 2015.

The decline in exports has hampered China's economic growth. Last year, the economy expanded at the lowest rate in almost 25 years, growing 7.4 per cent.

The figures come as China's stock market lost £1.5 trillion in three weeks, with the country's authorities being forced to cut interest rates in June for the fourth time in six months.

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