Chinese exports dropped for the second consecutive month in March, while import growth also fell sharply.
The Customs Administration said earlier today that the country’s exports fell 6.6% in March from a year earlier, following an 18.1% slide in February.
It is the first time that Chinese exports have fallen for two months in a row since 2009.
According to Reuters, imports fell 11.3%, leaving the country with a trade surplus of $7.7bn (£4.5bn) for the month. But this marked a turnaround from a deficit of $23bn in February.
First-quarter exports fell 3.4% from a year earlier, while imports were up 1.6%, producing a trade surplus of $16.7bn, down 59.7% from a year ago.
Economists, polled by Reuters, expect first-quarter gross domestic product figures due on April 16 to show annual growth slowing to a five-year low of 7.3% from 7.7% in the final quarter of 2013.