China's export growth slows, sluggish demand from Europe
Growth in China's exports slowed in December because of sluggish
demand from the US and Europe. Exports rose by 13.4 percent from a year
earlier, the customs agency said, down from 13.8 percent in November.
Import growth also slowed, rising 11.8 percent compared with the
previous year, much lower than the 22.1 percent growth in November.
The latest figures could fuel worries that the world's second largest
economy is losing steam.
China's Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said that the country's
foreign trade environment could be bleak in 2012, as demand declines.
Analysts echoed that sentiment, adding that the figures could cast a
shadow on the economy.
"Our forecast for gross domestic product is already the lowest in the
This trade data basically confirms our view that the first quarter is
going to be very tough," said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at
Nomura in Hong Kong.
China's rapid economic expansion slowed to an annualised 9.1 percent
in the three months to the end of September.
That is down from 9.6 percent in the previous three months and slower
than the double-digit expansion of 2010.
China's trade surplus widened to $16.5b (£10.7b) in December compared
with the $14.5b in the previous month.
However, the trade surplus for 2011 as a whole narrowed to $155.1b,
compared with $183b in 2010, said customs officials.
This means the trade surplus, which is politically sensitive and has
caused tension between China and the US, shrank for the third straight
year. The US, and China's other trade partners, have complained that
Beijing has restricted access to its markets at a time when countries
are trying to revive growth and create jobs. BBC