China’s February exports down 18 percent
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China’s February exports down 18 percent

BEIJING (AP) — China’s February exports fell 18.1 percent in a sign of weak global demand, while imports rose 10.1 percent.

Export data Saturday was much weaker than the single-digit decline expected by private sector analysts while imports were in line with forecasts.

The figures might add to concern China cannot rely on trade to help drive its slowing economy while communist leaders launch sweeping promised reforms.

China’s trade data often are distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday, when companies shut down for two weeks or more. The holiday falls at different times each year in January or February.

Grouping together the two months, as analysts often do, still showed weak demand. Exports fell 1.6 percent in the two-month period, compared with a year earlier.