Chinese imports have plummeted in the past few weeks, adding to the Asian nation's current economic woes. Exports also dipped on falling demand for some commodities, but to a far lesser extent, Beijing reported.
Chinese imports by value tumbled for the 11th consecutive month, losing roughly a fifth in September. The steep drop was primarily caused by weak commodity prices and much less by a decrease in domestic demand.
Nonetheless, the recent development stands to complicate Beijing's endeavors to stave off deflation as the world's second largest economy aims to become more sustainable by letting consumer demand replace exports and state-led investment as the key drivers of growth.
The strategic realignment will come at a cost, at least in the short term. Analysts agree that China will most likely post its slowest GDP expansion in a quarter of a century this year as the nation keeps struggling with entrenched factory overcapacity, high debt levels and cooling investment appetite.
"In general, there are no green shots in this set of trade data," said Commerzbank Singapore economist Zhou Hao.
China's combined exports and imports fell 8.1 percent in the first nine months of the year from the same period in 2014, well below the official full-year target of 6 percent.
hg/cjc (Reuters, AFP)