China's exports plunged in January to February period as the outbreak of coronavirus and the extended Lunar New Year holiday weighed on global supply chains and overall business activity.
Exports decreased 17.2 percent in January and February period, data released by the General Administration of Customs revealed over the weekend.
This was in contrast to a 7.9 percent annual expansion seen in December. Economists had forecast a decrease of 16.2 percent.
Similarly, imports declined 4 percent versus 16.5 percent growth in December. Imports were expected to fall 16.1 percent.
Consequently, the trade deficit totaled $7.09 billion compared to the expected surplus of $38.8 billion.
"Though we do not expect a V-shape rebound in production and exports in March, we believe that China will not receive more donations from the rest of the world," Iris Pang, an ING economist said. "Almost the opposite, we expect China to export some medical supplies to other countries that need help to fight the coronavirus."
A s such, even though China's trade could be in negative growth on a yearly basis in March, the trade balance should turn positive, the economist added.