Bitcoin market cap gold March exports shrink 15 percent year-on-year in shock fall Read full article April 13,PM Piles of steel pipes to be exported are seen in front of cranes at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province March 7, The yuan's strength was one factor in March's In a sign that domestic demand was also tepid, imports into the world's second-biggest economy shrank By volume, coal imports plunged more than 40 percent in January-March.
The March fall in imports was in line with forecasts, unlike the one for exports. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang was quoted by Xinhua state news agency as saying earlier this month that authorities must arrest China's export slowdown lest it further dampens economic growth.
Wang was quoted as saying that local governments should offer "preferential policy support" and encourage more private investment in exports.
Anaemic growth in the trade sector could hurt jobs, which the government wants to protect for fear that widespread unemployment could fuel social discontent and trigger unrest. So far, China's labor market appears to be holding up well, despite signs that economic growth is steadily grinding to its lowest in a quarter of a century of around 7 percent. Story continues Data on growth in the first quarter will be released on Wednesday.
On a quarterly basis, exports appeared to fare better than imports. Export sales were up 4. Imports, on the other hand, crumbled Yet analysts said a breakdown of the data showed exports in March were clearly crimped by a stronger yuan, which is pegged to a rising dollar.
Indeed, Huang Songping, a spokesman at China's customs office, acknowledged the difficulties that exporters faced from a firmer yuan. Costs stemming from labor, financing and the exchange rate "remain stubbornly high and the competitive advantage of the traditional foreign trade has been weakened," Huang said.
He added that That helped to dent Chinese export sales to Europe. Shipments to the European Union had their biggest fall in more than a year, as did those to Japan. Taking that disappointing outcome into account, the government has lowered its growth target for combined imports and exports to around 6 percent.
Editing by Richard Borsuk.