Lower commodity prices and sluggish demands dragged down China's October trade figures, although the volume of imported oil and other raw materials rose as the world's second largest economy stocked up on a few bargains, showed customs data released on Sunday.

Imports fell by 16 percent from a year ago, while exports shrank by 3.6 percent. Overall, China's foreign trade dropped 9 percent, marking the eighth consecutive monthly decline.

The contractions again in October show China's economic slowdown has yet to bottom out and that exports were hurt by slack global demand.

"With imports still down on a year ago in real terms, this trade data does not suggest a material pick up in domestic demand momentum in October," said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in a report.

Chinese purchases of foreign goods improved from September's 20.4 percent decline. Purchases of raw materials such as crude oil and soybeans went up in quantities, but China paid far less for the goods than a year ago because of lower prices. Yet, data also showed China cut back on purchases of coal, steel, copper and aluminum, in a sign of sluggish economy.

Sales of Chinese goods to foreign markets fell 3.6 percent, a slight improvement from the previous month's 3.7 percent contraction.

The government has cut interest rates repeatedly since last year and pumped money into the economy through spending on public works construction.

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General Administration of Customs of China (in Chinese): www.customs.gov.cn