Asia

China's exports return to decline, import growth eases

China's exports fell back into contraction again last month, signaling renewed weakness for the world's second biggest economy.

Customs data posted Friday showed that exports shrank 6.1 percent to $209.4 billion in December compared with the year-ago period.

The latest numbers mark a return to a long term downward trend amid tepid global demand. In November, China's exports eked out a 0.1 percent expansion after shrinking for nine straight months.

Imports rose 3.1 percent to $168.5 billion, slowing from a 6.7 percent rise the month before.

The figures cap a dismal year for Chinese trade, with combined imports and exports contracting 6.8 percent.

Slumping trade adds to pressure on China's communist leaders trying to shore up weakening growth in the economy.