China's imports shrink in sign of worsening downturn
BEIJING (AP) - China's imports shrank unexpectedly in August in a sign its economic slump is worsening and the Chinese president warned growth could slow further, prompting expectations of possible new stimulus spending.
Imports declined 2.6 per cent from a year earlier, below analysts' expectations of growth in low single digits, data showed on Monday. That came on top of August's decline in factory output to a three-year low and other signs growth is still decelerating despite repeated stimulus efforts.
The weakness in China's demand for imports is bad news for exporters in South-east Asia, Australia, Brazil and elsewhere that are counting on its appetite for oil, iron ore, industrial components and other goods to offset anemic Western markets.
Analysts expect Chinese growth that fell to a three-year low of 7.6 per cent in the latest quarter to rebound late this year or in early 2013. But they say it likely will be too weak to drive a global recovery without improvement in the United States, which is struggling with a sluggish recovery, and debt-crippled Europe.