Imports to China shrank in February for a second month in a new sign of weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.
Imports contracted by 20.5 percent to $108.6 billion compared with a year earlier, customs data showed.
Trade data for China early in the year often can be distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday, which occurs at a different time each year in January or February. However, combining the two months, the contraction in imports so far this year is 20.2 percent.
Exports surged 48.3 percent, rebounding from January’s 3.3 percent contraction, according to the General Administration of Customs of China.
China’s appetite for imported raw materials and consumer goods has ebbed as economic growth declined to a two-decade low of 7.4 percent in 2014. The International Monetary Fund and other forecasters expect growth to decline this year.
The Government is trying to steer the economy away from heavy reliance on trade and investment by nurturing more self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption. Still, its plans call for maintaining steady trade growth to protect the millions of jobs supported by export industries.