China export growth falls in November, imports contract in sign of weak domestic demand

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

China's export growth tumbled in November and imports contracted unexpectedly in a new sign of weakness in the world's second-largest economy.

Exports rose by a weaker-than-expected 4.7 percent, down from October's 10.6 percent, trade data showed Monday. Imports were forecast to post a small increase but instead contracted by 6.7 percent from a year earlier.

China's economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the latest quarter. The ruling Communist Party is trying to cool growth to a more sustainable level but cut interest rates last month in an apparent effort to reverse the deepening slowdown.

The decline in export growth probably was due in part to a crackdown aimed at ending misreporting of prices by traders as a way to evade Chinese capital controls, but also indicates the underlying activity is weakening, said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.

"The magnitude of the fall suggests that underlying export growth has weakened too," said Evans-Pritchard. As for imports, "the sharp fall also hints at a further cooling of domestic demand."

Weaker domestic demand will frustrate Chinese planners who are trying to reduce reliance on trade and investment and nurture more self-sustaining growth based on retail spending and other domestic consumption.