The figures for September showed that, despite hitting a record-high trade surplus with exports holding up far better than expected, imports tumbled further than predicted.
Economic data has been weak over the summer and analysts were forecasting that the country’s exports would continue to drop by 7.4 per cent in September. Instead, they fell by just 1.1 per cent, indicating that they’re beginning to stabilise.
Imports, meanwhile, fell by 17.7 per cent, year on year, against the forecast 16.5 per cent drop, putting the decline in Chinese imports at the worst pace since May.
The country’s trade surplus surged on these figures, landing on a record high of 376bn renminbi (£38.7bn), smashing expectations by some 30 per cent.
Asian markets fell on the data, with the Shanghai Composite down by 0.4 per cent, Nikkei index down by 1.1 per cent, the Hang Seng down by 0.5 and ASX 200 down by 0.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, the tech-focused Shenzhen Composite rose by 0.3 per cent.