China trade tumbles in May

BEIJING (AP) — China’s exports fell 7.5 per cent from a year ago in May and imports were down 4.5 per cent, adding to signs an economic recovery is slowing.

Exports slid to $283.5 billion, reversing from April’s unexpectedly strong 8.5 per cent growth, customs data showed Wednesday. Imports fell to $217.7 billion, moderating from the previous month’s 7.9 per cent contraction.

Trade weakness adds to signs of a slowing of China’s rebound following the December lifting of anti-virus controls that disrupted travel and commerce.

Retail spending is weaker than expected as consumers worry about the economic outlook and possible job losses. Manufacturing activity has been contracting as interest rate hikes in the United States and Europe chill demand for exports.

Forecasters say the peak of the recovery has passed after economic growth accelerated to 4.5 per cent over a year earlier in the three months ending in March from the previous quarter’s 2.9 per cent. That is below the ruling Communist Party’s official target of “around 5 per cent” for the year.