China’s exports plunge by 7.5% in May, far more than expected


A cargo ship carrying containers is seen near the Yantian port in Shenzhen, following the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Guangdong province, China May 17, 2020.

Martin Pollard | Reuters

BEIJING — China’s exports fell in May for the first time since February, customs data showed Wednesday.

Exports fell 7.5% year-on-year to $283.5 billion, far worse than the 0.4% decline predicted by a Reuters poll.

The disappointing export figures indicate that the longer-term trend is down, said Hao Hong, chief economist at Grow Investment Group.

China won’t be able depend on trade to boost its economy for “another six months, for sure,” he said, noting a drag from lackluster U.S. demand, where inflation — and interest rates — remain high.

Imports for May dropped by 4.5% from a year ago to $217.69 billion — less than the 8% plunge forecast by Reuters.

China’s monthly imports have declined on a year-on-year basis since late last year.

A breakdown of China’s trade for May by country or category wasn’t immediately available.

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