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Exports slump for third month

CHINA'S exports slumped 17.5 percent in January for the third straight month which may add more pressures to export-driven cities.

Exports fell to US$90.45 billion last month, following a 2.8 percent decline in December and a 2.2 percent decrease in November, the first such decline in seven years, the General Administration of Customs said today.

The country's imports also plunged last month by 43.1 percent to US$51.34 billion and trade surplus expanded 102 percent to US$39.1 billion.

However, discounting the impact of the weeklong Spring Festival holiday in January, exports rose 6.8 percent from a year earlier and imports fell 26.4 percent, the administration said. Last year's Spring Festival fell on February 7.

"The early Lunar New Year is distorting January trade data in China, as well as many other Asian economies. January-February data need to be taken together for a better gauge of the true extent of the deterioration," said Ken Peng, an economist at Citigroup.

China's foreign trade volume with Europe dropped 18.7 percent to US$27.93 billion in the period, followed by US$22.25 billion between China and the United States, dropping 15.2 percent.

Exports of some of the products involved in the country's tax incentives grew in the period, such as a 5.7-percent growth for garments, a 10.6-percent growth for shoes and an 8.3-percent growth for bags.

China earlier this month announced an increase in the export tax rebate for textiles and garments to 15 percent from 14 percent following two increases last year.


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