China’s trade slump eases, boosting recovery hopes


China released a mixed batch of economic data on Friday showing a slump in exports and imports was gradually easing.

The nation’s policy support measures over recent months have begun to stabilise some parts of the world’s second-biggest economy, but a long-running property crisis, a slowdown in global growth and geopolitical tensions continue to drag on broader activity as well as consumer and business confidence.

Exports in September declined 6.2 percent from a year ago, moderating somewhat from a drop of 8.8 percent in August, and beating economists’ forecast for a 7.6 percent fall, according to a poll by the Reuters news agency.

South Korean exports to China, a leading indicator of China’s imports, fell at their slowest pace in 11 months in September. Semiconductors make up the bulk of their trade, signalling improving appetite among Chinese manufacturers for components to re-export in finished goods.

However, Lu Daliang, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs, said at a press conference on Friday that China’s trade still faces a complex and severe external environment.

China’s exports to the Asean nations, which have become the Asian giant’s largest trade partner amid rising tensions with the United States and Europe over trade, technology and geopolitics, contracted further in September from a month earlier.

Premier Li Qiang was quoted by state media as saying on Friday that China’s economy is recovering and improving but officials should have a clear understanding of difficulties and challenges ahead.

Li, during a meeting with economists and business executives, also said the government should further strengthen its policy reserves. (Reuters)


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