SHANGHAI–China reported a steep drop in exports and a slight dip in imports for the month of May, although the country’s central bank said it still expects the Chinese economy to grow by 6.8 percent this year.
Exports slid 4.1 percent fall compared with May 2015, China’s Customs Bureau said Wednesday. That follows a 1.8 percent drop in April. Exports to the U.S were particularly weak- they dropped 12 percent. By comparison, the value of exports to the European Union declined only 2.1 percent.
Meanwhile, imports fared better. Their value in U.S. dollar terms fell 0.4 percent on the year, a significant improvement over April’s 10.9 percent year-on-year decline.
Overall, China’s trade surplus for May was $49.98 billion, up from $45.56 billion in April.
The central bank lifted its estimate for consumer price inflation for the year to 2.4 percent from the previous estimate of 1.7 percent due mainly to rising food and property prices.
Chinese stock market indices ended nearly flat following the data. Shanghai’s SSE inched down 0.3 percent to 2,927 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.1 percent to 21,298. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.93 percent to 16,831.
Gainers included Fast Retailing, which rose 1.5 percent to 30, 450 yen, and Shiseido, which rose 1.6 percent to close at 2,877 yen.
It was a punishing session for Global Brands, which saw its shares tank 6.5 percent to 0.720 Hong Kong dollars. Chow Tai Fook dropped 1.7 percent to 5.78 Hong Kong dollars.