Chinese Imports Slump, Loans Slow

Latest economic indicators reinforce view that Chinese growth is weakening.

China’s exports and imports fell for the first time in two years in January and lending grew less than estimated, adding to signs growth is weakening in the world’s second-largest economy.

Overseas shipments decreased 0.5 percent and imports declined a more-than-forecast 15.3 percent from a year earlier in a month that had four fewer working days than January 2011 because of the Chinese New Year holiday, the customs bureau said today.

In China, factories had less need to build up inventories ahead of the holiday, ANZ’s Liu said. “We do not believe this is a sign of a demand slowdown,” said Liu, who previously worked at the World Bank. “On the contrary, demand has been steadily picking up.”

Tom Albanese, chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Group, said yesterday he remains confident of a so-called soft landing in China. The nation provided 28 percent of Rio Tinto’s revenue in its most recent financial year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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