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Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 17:12

China foreign trade decline narrows in Sept

By Agencies

BEIJING - China's foreign trade dropped 8.8 percent year on year to 2.22 trillion yuan (about US$352 billion) in September, less severe than the 9.7-percent contraction in August, official data showed on Tuesday.

Exports dropped 1.1 percent to 1.3 trillion yuan and imports decreased 17.7 percent to 924 billion yuan. The trade surplus totaled 376.2 billion yuan, up 96.1 percent, the General Administration of Customs said.

For the first three quarters, foreign trade dropped 7.9 percent year on year to 17.87 trillion yuan with exports down 1.8 percent to 10.24 trillion yuan and imports down 15.1 percent to 7.63 trillion yuan. Trade surplus surged by 82.1 percent to 2.61 trillion yuan.

GAC spokesperson Huang Songping attributed the drops to the sluggish global economy, high costs and slumping commodity prices, citing data from the World Trade Organization that showed global exports dropped 10.9 percent year on year in the first seven months.

China's foreign trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative hit 4.5 trillion yuan, accountign for about 25 percent of the total foreign trade in the first three quarters of the year.

China reported 2.59 trillion yuan in trade with the European Union, its largest trade partner, in the first three quarters, 2.54 trillion yuan in trade with the United States, its second-largest trade partner, and 2.11 trillion yuan with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), its third-largest trade partner.

Exports to emerging markets have been rising. Foreign trade grew 5.8 percent with ASEAN, 8.7 percent with India, 1.3 percent with Latin America and 6.1 percent with Africa.

Exports to Japan, China's fifth-largest trade partner, dropped 11 percent year on year to 1.27 trillion yuan.

Persistent weakness in demand at home and abroad could spell even more pain for trade-reliant Chinese firms in coming months. Imports are also a leading indicator for exports, with a large share of materials and parts re-exported as finished goods.

China is widely expected to post its slowest economic growth in a quarter of a century this year as activity is weighed down by weakening demand at home and abroad, factory overcapacity, high debt levels and cooling investment.

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