China's foreign trade dropped 9.6 per cent year-on-year during the first two months of this year, according to official data published on Saturday. The data released by the General Administration of Customs showed that in January and February, China's trade exchanges with the rest of the world stood at 4.12 trillion yuan ($594 billion), reports Efe news.
Exports plummeted 15.9 per cent year-on-year to 2.04 trillion yuan, while imports declined 2.4 per cent to 2.08 trillion yuan, which led to a trade deficit of 42.59 billion yuan. The deficit had stood a 293 billion yuan during the same period in 2019. However, trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - China's biggest trade ally - grew 2 per cent year-on-year and accounted for around 14.4 per cent of total foreign trade.
On the other hand, trade with other major allies, such as the European Union, the US and Japan showed a downward trend. The trade with the US - a country which has been involved in a long trade conflict with Beijing since March 2018 - declined 19.6 per cent, with exports dropping 26.5 per cent while imports growing slightly by 4.3 per cent.
The GAC said that the drop in exports and imports was a result of factors such as the new coronavirus outbreak and the extension of the Lunar New Year, a measure taken by the Chinese authorities to prevent the epidemic from spreading. Meanwhile the State Administration of Foreign Exchange reported on Saturday that China's foreign currency reserves dropped to $3.1067 trillion in February, down from $3.115 trillion the month before. This marks a decline of $1.2 billion or 0.04 per cent since the beginning of 2020.