Page last updated at 07:13 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

China's exports see sharp decline

Shenzhen port, south China, Dec 08
China's exports are falling as world demand slows

China's exports fell more than expected in January, down 17.5% from a year earlier, marking the biggest drop in more than 10 years, figures have shown.

Imports were down 43.1% in the month compared with a year ago, as China's economy continued to be hit by the global economic slowdown.

Analysts say the slowdown could prompt more factory closures and job losses.

China's global trade surplus widened to $39.1bn last month, after recording a surplus of $39bn in December.

Jobs pressure

"The numbers are terrible. The environment is awful," said Ken Peng, an economist at Citigroup.

"The pressure on unemployment will be huge," he added.

Some analysts argue that this worsening trend will continue, as the world economy contracts.

Last month, China's crude oil imports fell to their lowest level for 15 months - down 8% year-on-year.

The country shipped in 12.82 million tonnes of crude oil, nearly 11% lower than in December.



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