China's exports declined 25.7 percent year-on-year in February, the fourth straight monthly decline, China's General Administration of Customs said March 11. Total foreign trade was $124.95 billion in February, down 24.9 percent year-on-year. Total Chinese exports in February amounted to $64.9 billion, reflecting weak demand for Chinese goods in the United States and Europe.
China's trade surplus narrowed to $4.84 billion, less than one-seventh of the figure for January. China's imports slumped 24.1 percent to $60.05 billion.
China's exports of labor-intensive products dropped at more moderate rates than its total exports, reflecting the government's moves to raise export rebates starting last July. Exports of apparel and accessories dropped only 11 percent to $14.62 billion, and exports of toys declined 17.1 percent to $850 million.
In contrast, coal exports fell 41.6 percent year-on-year to 5.11 million tonnes, and steel exports dropped 52 percent to 3.47 million tonnes. Grain exports plunged 46.7 percent and fertilizer exports declined 55 percent. The government has restricted exports of these commodities in order to ensure sufficient domestic supply after major wheat-planting areas suffered their worst drought in half a century.