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Trade data in September disappointing

CHINA’S trade came in much weaker than expected in September due to a sudden turnabout of exports, dampening hopes of further economic stabilization in the world’s second-largest economy.

Exports lost 5.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.22 trillion yuan (US$182.9 billion) last month, reversing the increase of 5.9 percent in August. Imports rose 2.2 percent to 945 billion yuan, also deteriorating from the jump of 10.8 percent a month earlier.

Trade surplus ended at 278 billion yuan, narrowing from 346 billion yuan in August and down 25 percent from the same period of last year.

“The sharp downturn of exports was broad-based,” said David Qu, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “The sluggish external demand will continue to weigh on the trade outlook.”

The real exports were even worse considering the yuan’s deprecation by 4.7 percent to 6.67 in the past 12 months. In US dollar terms, exports dropped by 10 percent in September.

Qu said trade surplus, which dropped in accordance with weakening trade, could further weigh on the yuan’s exchange rate.

“Against the backdrop of an ongoing capital account deficit, the trade surplus has been an important factor in offsetting capital outflows,” Qu said. “But the contraction in exports may continue to see the trade surplus narrow.”

In the first three quarters, China’s trade lost 1.9 percent to settle at 17.5 trillion yuan, with exports contracting 1.6 percent and imports down 2.3 percent.

Trade figures were the first among a slew of key economic gauges to be released. The National Bureau of Statistics will unveil the inflation data tomorrow.


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