Trade figures from China continue to disappoint, fueling expectations that Beijing will intervene to reverse the politically dangerous slump. But German exports have risen to new levels.
In a new sign of economic weakness, China's imports and exports fell unexpectedly again in April, official data showed Friday, fanning expectations that Chinese leaders will roll out more stimulus to shore up the world's second-largest economy.
Adding to March's uninspiring figures, the country's exports dropped 6.4 percent year-on-year in April to $176.3 billion (155.0 billion euros), while imports plunged 16.2 percent to $142.2 billion.
Germany, on the other hand, logged record figures for the month of March, as exports increased 12.4 percent to 107.5 billion euros, the country's statistics office, Destatis, showed on Friday. Imports also grew by 12.4 percent in March from a year earlier to 84.5 billion euros - the highest monthly value ever recorded.
China under pressure
Analysts said China's latest figures point to persistent weakness in its economy.
Communist leaders are aiming to steer the country to more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption, reducing reliance on trade. But a sharp decline since mid-2014 has raised concerns about job losses and growing levels of bad debt.
In response, Beijing has already cut interest rates twice since November and also lowered reserve requirements for banks to boost lending.
Analysts expect authorities to introduce incentives, such as tax cuts and more interest rate reductions, to avoid a sharper economic downturn.
China's GDP expanded by 7.4 percent in 2014, its lowest rate in almost 25 years.
In addition, growth slowed to 7 percent in the first quarter of this year - its lowest for a quarter since 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
el/uhe (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)