Photo taken on July 30, 2012 shows the container terminals in Chongqing Lianglu/Cuntan Bonded Port, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. (Xinhua Photo)
BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's export growth slowed sharply to a six-month low in July on dwindling foreign demand, strengthening anticipation for weak trade performance for the whole year and more government action to support the economy.
Exports rose 1 percent year on year to 176.9 billion U.S. dollars in July, plummeting from the 11.3-percent growth seen in June and well below market expectations, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Friday.
Imports also lost steam, increasing 4.7 percent year on year to 151.8 billion U.S. dollars, compared with a growth of 6.3 percent in June.
Foreign trade expanded 2.7 percent year on year to 328.7 billion U.S. dollars in July, according to the GAC data.
"The July data were poor indeed," said Zheng Yuesheng, head of the GAC statistical department. "It will be an arduous task to fulfill our foreign trade target, as external demand is weak."
Wang Tao, chief China economist of UBS Securities, saw increasing downside risks in exports in the third quarter due to sagging U.S. and European markets.
China's exports to the EU, its largest trading partner, slumped 16.2 percent year on year in July, GAC figures showed.
Exports to the United States, the country's second-largest trading partner, edged up 0.6 percent year on year, compared with 10.6-percent growth in June.
In the first seven months, exports rose 7.8 percent year on year to 1.13 trillion U.S. dollars.
The slowing export growth was caused by a high base in the same period last year, the sluggish recovery of the U.S. economy, rising factory costs and growing trade friction, the Bank of Communications said in a commentary.
Grim prospects for the global economy and increasing labor costs and trade disputes will continue to drag down exports in August, it forecast.
However, imports may recover a bit in August, as the economy is likely to stabilize and pick up in the third quarter, while a possible rebound in global commodity prices will contribute to higher import values, according to the commentary.
China's trade surplus narrowed 16.8 percent year on year to 25.2 billion U.S. dollars in July, taking the combined trade surplus to 94.1 billion U.S. dollars for the first seven months of the year, according to the GAC.
In the January-July period, total foreign trade reached 2.17 trillion U.S. dollars, an increase of 7.1 percent year on year, lower than the 10-percent growth targeted by the government for the whole of 2012.
Foreign trade has been softening since the beginning of the year, making the annual trade growth goal difficult to achieve, said Liu Ligang, an economist with ANZ National Bank Limited.
Friday's data release came after China announced its lowest inflation rate in 30 months and the slowest industrial output growth since May 2009 in July.
"Looking at all the lackluster figures, we believe Chinese authorities must hasten the loosening of policies to shore up the economy," Liu said.
Faltering exports and a cooling property sector slowed China's economic growth rate to 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009.
The central bank has cut its lending and deposit rates twice this year, as well as lowered the amount of funds that banks must keep in reserve, to beef up the monetary supply.
The government has also slashed taxes for small businesses, fast-tracked investment plans to spur growth and subsidized the purchase of energy-saving household electrical appliances.
Top leaders pledged last month to prioritize stable economic growth and adhere to a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy to weather current economic hardships.
Analysts widely expect that authorities will further reduce the reserve requirement ratio and interest rates to help the economy avoid a hard landing.
Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said Friday that the ministry will face pressure in maintaining trade growth in the second half of the year, but at the same time has confidence in exporters' ability to adapt to market changes.
Chinese firms are exerting efforts to develop new products, tap new markets and increase the added value of their exports, which will create great potential for growth in the future, Gao said at a press conference.
The Ministry of Commerce will continue to stabilize trade-related policies and support companies in improving their operations in order to meet the annual trade target, he said.
China's trade with the EU dipped 0.9 percent in the January-July period from a year earlier to 315.8 billion U.S. dollars, the GAC figures showed.
During the period, trade with Japan also slipped 0.2 percent year on year to 190.9 billion U.S. dollars.
Meanwhile, trade with the United States went up 10.5 percent year on year to 271.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first seven months, according to the GAC.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) remained China's third-largest trade partner in the January-July period, with China-ASEAN trade amounting to 220.6 billion U.S. dollars, up 9 percent year on year.
BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's new yuan-denominated lending in July declined sharply to 540.1 billion yuan (about 85.19 billion U.S.dollars), down from 919.8 billion yuan in June, the People's Bank of China(PBOC), the central bank, announced Friday.
M2, a broad measure of the money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, increased 13.9 percent year on year to 91.91 trillion yuan at the end of July, up 0.3 percentage points from the end of June but lower than the 14-percent annual target set by the government for 2012. Full story
BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's fiscal revenues grew 8.2 percent year on year to 1.07 trillion yuan (168.77 billion U.S. dollars) in July, the Ministry of Finance said Friday.
The country's central fiscal revenues rose 6.4 percent year on year to 556.2 billion yuan last month, while that of local governments was up 10.2 percent to 511 billion yuan, according to a statement on the ministry's website. Full story
BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's consumer inflation eased to its lowest rate in two and a half years in July, giving the government more leeway to loosen credit to spur the slowing economy.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key gauge of inflation, grew to 1.8 percent year on year in July, the slowest rate since February 2010, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Thursday. Full story
BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's Producer Price Index (PPI), a main gauge of inflation at the wholesale level, fell 2.9 percent in July from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. Full story
BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- China's economic growth has bottomed out and will pick up in the second half of this year on government monetary and fiscal support as well as improvements in the world economy, experts said.
There are signs that the economy is stabilizing, said Zhang Liqun, a researcher from the Development Research Center of the State Council, or China's cabinet. Full story
BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government collected much less tax in the first half of this year as the economy expanded at its slowest pace since the depth of the global financial crisis, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Tuesday. Full story