China Trade Shrank in Dec

China Exports declined 1.4 per cent from a year earlier to $224.1 billion, an improvement over the previous month’s 6.8 per cent contraction, customs data showed Wednesday. Imports were down 7.6 per cent at $164 billion, a smaller loss than November’s 8.7 per cent fall.

China’s trade data reflect weak global demand and a decline in domestic economic growth, but economists say retail spending and manufacturing might be improving.

Economic growth fell to a six-year low of 6.9 per cent in the quarter ending in September. Full year growth is expected to come in at or just below 7 per cent.

In December, the country’s global trade surplus widened by 21 per cent to $60.1 billion.

The country’s trade surplus in December with the European Union, its biggest trading partner, swelled 36.8 per cent to $15.6 billion. The surplus with the United States contracted 6 per cent to $19.4 billion.