Exports in China Drop Unexpectedly

In September, exports from China fell unexpectedly signaling the constraints from demand globally and highlighting the distortions from fabricated invoices that remain in the country’s trade data.

Shipments overseas fell 0.3% from the same month last year, said the General Administration of Customs in Beijing on Saturday. That was below all estimates of economists in a recent poll. The average the economists had was for a gain of 5.5%.

The slowdown in trade resulted from last year’s high comparison, said the agency in its statement.

The latest trade report has added to the challenges facing Premier Li Keqiang government’s expansion goal of 7.5% for the year. The IMF has cut its outlook for global growth this week, with the outflows of capital continuing to weaken the emerging markets and warned that a default by the U.S. government could damage significantly the global economy.

Exports from China to the U.S. were up 4.2% during September compared to the same month one year ago, but slowed from the 6.1% increase in August. Sales to Taiwan, South Korea as well as the European Union fell, showed the data from customs.

Growth in exports to the Southeast Asian Nations fell from last month’s 30.8% to 9.8%.

On the Shanghai Composite, stocks were up during the week by 2.5%, the biggest single week gain in more than one month. The yuan was up 0.02% versus the U.S. dollar.

Estimates for export growth in September ranged from just 1% to over 8.2%, following the 7.2% of August and a 9.8% gain during the same month last year.

A comparison of exports in September with last year during the same month might understate the full picture since there is distortion from data released in 2012 that was inflated.