China's export growth declines to 7% in August from 18% in July

Beijing: China's trade weakened in August as high energy prices, inflation and anti-virus measures weighed on global and Chinese consumer demand, while imports of Russian oil and gas surged.

Exports rose 7 per cent over a year ago to $314.9 billion, decelerating from July's 18 per cent expansion, customs data showed Wednesday.

Imports contracted by 0.2 per cent to $235.5 billion, compared with the previous month's already weak 2.3 per cent growth.

Demand for Chinese exports has softened as Western economies cool and the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia raise interest rates to contain surging inflation. At home, repeated closures of Chinese cities to fight virus outbreaks has weighed on consumers' willingness to spend.

The slowdown in China's export sector is adding to headwinds for the Chinese economy, said Rajiv Biswas of S&P Global Market Intelligence in a report. Lack of import growth highlights continued weakness of Chinese domestic demand.

Growth in the world's second-largest economy fell to 2.5 per cent in the first half of 2022, less than half the ruling Communist Party's 5.5 per cent annual target, after Shanghai and other industrial centers were shut down to fight virus outbreaks.

Factories have reopened, but restrictions more recently in areas including the southern business center of Shenzhen weighed on activity. So has a dry summer that left reservoirs in the southwest unable to generate hydropower and disrupted river shipping.

The International Monetary Fund and private sector forecasters have trimmed their already low growth forecasts.

China's global trade surplus widened by 36.1 per cent over a year earlier to $79.4 billion.

Exports to the United States sank 3.8 per cent from a year ago to $49.8 billion while imports of American goods declined 7.3 per cent to $13 billion. The politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States that helped to spark a tariff war narrowed by 2.4 per cent to $36.7 billion.

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