Annual China trade growth slows in October in further sign of fragility

Sat Nov 8, 2014 1:37am EST
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By Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) - Annual growth in China's exports and imports slowed in October, data showed on Saturday, reinforcing signs of fragility in the world's second-largest economy that could prompt policymakers to roll out more stimulus measures.

Exports have been the lone bright spot in the last few months, perhaps helping to offset soft domestic demand, but there are doubts about the accuracy of the official numbers amid signs of a resurgence of speculative currency flows through inflated trade receipts.

Exports rose 11.6 percent in October from a year earlier, slowing from a 15.3 percent jump in September, the General Administration of Customs said. The figure was slightly above market expectations in a Reuters poll of a 10.6 percent rise.

A decline in China's leading index on exports in October pointed to weaker export growth in the next two to three months, the administration said.

"The economy still faces relatively big downward pressure as exports face uncertainties while weak imports indicate sluggish domestic demand," said Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.

"The central bank may continue to ease policy in a targeted way."

Imports rose an annual 4.6 percent in October, pulling back from a 7 percent rise in September, and were weaker than expected. That left the country with a trade surplus of $45.4 billion for the month, which was near record highs.

Annual growth slowed to 7.3 percent in the third quarter - the weakest since the height of the global financial crisis - as a cooling property sector weighs on domestic demand.   Continued...

A view shows people visiting different booths at the Guandong Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province May 4, 2014. REUTERS/Alex Lee