China November trade shrinks due to Covid restrictions, interest rate hikes

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Beijing: China’s imports and exports shrank in November under pressure from weakening global demand and anti-virus controls at home. Exports sank 9 per cent from a year ago to USD 296.1 billion, worsening from October’s 0.9 per cent decline, customs data showed Wednesday. Imports fell 10.9 per cent to USD 226.2 billion, down from the previous month’s 0.7 per cent retreat in a sign of a deepening Chinese economic slowdown.

The contraction was the biggest since February 2020 when trade was hit by the first Covid lockdown, and comes in a month when exports would normally be rising strongly ahead of the Christmas and holiday season overseas. The decline in imports also widened to 10.6%, leaving a narrower trade surplus of $69.8 billion last month, the data showed.

Chinese trade was forecast to weaken as global demand cooled following interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia to rein in surging inflation.

Chinese consumer demand has been hurt by a ‘zero-COVID’ strategy that has repeatedly shut down large sections of cities to contain virus outbreaks.

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