Economists expected a 6% rise in Chinese exports. Instead, exports fell 0.3%. Please consider China's September export growth in surprise slide.
China's export growth fizzled in September to post a surprise fall as sales to Southeast Asia tumbled, data showed, a disappointing break to a recent run of indicators that had signaled its economy gaining strength.
China's exports dropped 0.3 percent in September from a year earlier, the Customs Administration said on Saturday, sharply confounding market expectations for a rise of 6 percent, and marking the worst performance in three months.
Imports fared better, rising 7.4 percent in September from a year ago, better than forecasts for a 7 percent increase, shrinking China's monthly trade surplus to $15.2 billion.
Analysts said weak exports underscored worries about flagging global demand, which may crumble further in coming months - especially in emerging markets - when tighter U.S. monetary policy pushes investors away from developing economies.
Indeed, the data showed Chinese exports to Southeast Asia, China's fastest-growing export market in the past year, dived to a 17-month low in September. Capital outflows from the region on bets that the U.S. central bank will cut its bond purchases had hit demand, said Louis Kuijs, an economist at RBS in Hong Kong.
"Looking ahead, export data may be quite weak in the coming months," Kuijs said, adding that financial turmoil in several emerging markets had dragged on global demand.