China's exports and imports declined for a second consecutive month in December, reflecting weakening external and domestic demand amid the financial crisis, customs officials said Tuesday. Exports fell 2.8 percent year-on-year to US$111.16 billion, while imports fell 21.3 percent to US$72.18 billion, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said. The rates of decline for exports and imports accelerated from November. Exports fell 2.2 percent year-on-year in November, the first monthly decline since June 2001. The previous decline, a much smaller 0.6 percent, reflected slumping U.S. demand after the tech bubble burst. In December, exports fell 3.3 percent month-on-month, while imports fell 3.6 percent. The trade surplus was US$38.98 billion, down from November's record high of US$40 billion. Total trade for 2008 was US$2.56 trillion, up 17.8 percent from 2007. The total included US$1.43 trillion in exports, up 17.2 percent, and US$1.13 trillion in imports, up 18.5 percent. The full-year trade surplus was US$295.46 billion, up 12.7 percent, GAC said. The European Union remained China's top trade partner last year, with bilateral trade of US$425.58 billion, up 19.5 percent. The growth rate, however, was lower than the 27-percent increase in 2007. Trade between China and the United States, the second-largest trade partner, rose 10.5 percent to US$333.74 billion. Japan remained China's third-largest trade partner, with bilateral trade of US$266.79 billion, up 13 percent.
(Source: Xinhua News Agency)