BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports fell a much faster than expected 7.5% in May year-on-year, while imports contracted at a slower pace, dropping 4.5%, customs data showed on Wednesday.
A Reuters poll of economists had forecast exports to have shrunk 0.4% and imports to have fallen 8.0%.
Having beaten expectations in the first quarter, analysts are now downgrading their expectations for the economy for the rest of the year, as factory output continues to slow amid persistent weak global demand.
Weak Chinese demand is hurting other major economies in the region. South Korean data last week showed shipments to China slid 20.8% in May, marking a full year of monthly declines.
China’s factory activity shrank faster than expected in May on weakening demand, the official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed last week.
The PMI subindexes for May showed factory output swung to contraction from expansion while new orders, including new exports, fell for a second month.
The government has set a modest GDP growth target of around 5% for this year, after badly missing the 2022 goal.
(Reporting by Joe Cash; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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