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China’s exports fell 8.8 per cent in August compared with a year earlier, marking their fourth consecutive month of decline in another hit for the ailing manufacturing sector in the world’s second-largest economy.
The August contraction was less severe than a forecast fall of 9.2 per cent, according to analysts polled by Reuters, and better than a decline in July, when China’s exports shed 14.5 per cent, the worst since the start of the pandemic.
Imports dropped 7.3 per cent in August, compared with a Reuters forecast of a 9 per cent decline and a 12.4 per cent fall in July.
The sustained weakness in trade comes as Chinese policymakers are grappling with turmoil in the property sector, one of the country’s other main engines of economic growth.
Chinese trade buoyed economic activity during the country’s pandemic lockdowns, but exporters have struggled this year with high global inflation as western consumers cut back on electronics purchases.
Policymakers in Beijing have refrained from enacting sweeping stimulus measures to revive growth in the economy, which lagged in the second quarter.
Trade turbulence and property sector woes, combined with sluggish consumer sentiment, led prices to fall in July. Factory activity slowed for a fifth consecutive month in August.
China’s official economic growth target for this year is 5 per cent, the lowest such mark in decades.