China's exports weaken amid global economic slump

07/10/12 BEIJING -China's trade growth plunged in June, hurt by weak U.S. and European demand and a Chinese slowdown, with a potential impact on economies as far-flung as Africa and Australia.

Import growth fell by half from May's level to 6.3 percent, data showed Tuesday, as factories facing weak foreign orders cut purchases of raw materials and domestic demand softened despite stimulus efforts. Export growth declined to 11.3 percent from May's 15.3 percent.

"The import slowdown was greater than expected," said Moody's Analytics economist Alaistair Chan in a report. As for foreign demand, "it is increasingly clear that exports will not be much of a boost to China's economy for some time."

Growth in the world's second-largest economy has tumbled to its lowest level since the 2008 global crisis due to anemic export demand and government efforts to cool overheating and inflation. That is bad news for companies and investors that were looking to relatively strong Chinese growth to shore up global demand as the United States and Europe struggle.

Weaker Chinese demand could hurt Asian suppliers of industrial components and suppliers of iron ore, oil and other commodities such as Australia, Brazil and Africa. China is the biggest market for South Korea, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.