Chinese exports were down again in August as weak demand and global uncertainty continued to weigh on the world's second-largest economy.
However, the decline inAugust was not as steep as in July and imports increased for the first time in nearly two years.
Exports fell 2.8 per cent last month over year-earlier levels, after decline of 4.4 per cent in July, the General Administration of Customs said on Thursday.
Imports in August were up 1.5 per cent from a year earlier, against a 12.5 per cent slump in July. According to commentators, the rise, which beat estimates largely reflected higher prices for raw materials with little sign that domestic demand, consumption or investment had picked up.
China's trade surplus was slightly lower in August at $52.05 billion, as against $52.31 billion in July.
''In general, the figures are quite positive for both exports and imports,'' said Standard Chartered Bank Ltd economist Shuang Ding, The Wall Street Journal reported. ''But domestic demand is still more or less the same. I don't expect any major pickup.''
The yuan was also down by around 7 per cent year on year in July against a basket of currencies, which made Chinese exporters more competitive when signing August contracts, Ding added.
Meanwhile, China's crude oil imports increased to the highest in four months and coal shipments jumped to the most since December 2014 with domestic production of both fuels declining.
The data released by the General Administration of Customs showed the world's biggest energy user imported 32.85 million metric tons of crude in August, which worked out to 7.77 million barrels a day, the fastest pace since April. Coal imports were up at 26.6 million tons.
China's crude output had declined this year as explorers held back spending in order to cope with declining oil prices. Meanwhile, coal mining was down with government of President Xi Jinping looking to cut the nations' overcapacity and reduce pollution.