China recorded another month of slumping exports and imports in October, authorities said Sunday, the latest setback for the world’s second-largest economy.
Exports fell for a fourth month in a row, down 3.6% to 1.23 trillion yuan ($193.2 billion) from the same period a year ago, while imports sank 16 percent to 833 billion yuan (roughly $131 billion), according to the General Administration of Customs. On top of that, the country’s trade surplus increased by more than 40 percent to 393 billion yuan ($61.74 billion).
The news comes on the heels of China’s economy growing 6.9% in the third quarter—its weakest rate since 2009—as well as the country’s Premier Li Keqiang’s recent speech pronouncing annual economic expansion of at least 6.5% through 2020.
But with trade figures like these, that prediction appears to be a pie in the sky.
China recorded 2.87 trillion yuan ($451.1 billion) of trade with the European Union in the first ten months of the year, a year-on-year drop of 7.9%, while combined exports and imports with the United States were up 2.4% to 2.85 trillion yuan ($448.15 billion).
Meanwhile, exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China’s third-largest trade partner, increased 4.2% to 1.39 trillion yuan ($218.6 billion) between January and October and imports fell 10.8% to 946.93 billion yuan ($148.9 billion).
Exports to Japan were down, too, by 9 percent to 691.52 billion yuan ($108.7 billion), while imports plunged 12.3% to 728.32 billion yuan ($114.5 billion).
“Chinese exports continue to face structural headwinds due to weak demand in key markets,” Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Singapore told Bloomberg. “Exports have also been impacted by the more recent growth slowdown in emerging markets, which had become fast-growing markets for Chinese exports in recent years.”