China imports down sharply as exports rise

The value of China's imports in dollar terms shrank sharply last month as the economy's post-pandemic recovery showed signs of slowing down.

Customs authorities say imports fell 7.9 percent in April from a year earlier, widely outpacing a 1.4-percent contraction in March.

Weaker imports of steel, crude oil and plastics indicated sluggish domestic demand and a floundering economy.

But exports grew 8.5 percent during the same period. It was a rebound from April last year, when strict coronavirus lockdowns were in force in Shanghai and elsewhere in the country.

Russia-bound exports were up roughly 150 percent, helping push the number higher.

By contrast, shipments to the United States, the largest market for Chinese goods, were down.

Analysts say concerns about overseas economic slowdowns are weighing on China's economy.