In January, imports dropped by 19.9 percent to CNY 860 billion year-on-year (approximately USD 140 billion) as a result of falling commodity prices. Purchases of ore declined by 50.3 percent, crude oil by 41.8 percent and coal by 61.8 percent in value terms. Inbound shipments from the country's main trading partners were down except from Taiwan. Imports from India decreased by 36.2 percent, followed by Japan (-13.6 percent), South Korea (-9.8 percent), the US (-9.3 percent), the EU countries (-6.9 percent), New Zealand (-38.3 percent), Australia (-35.2 percent), South Africa (-42.0 percent), Russia (-28.7 percent) and Brazil (-39.8 percent). Imports rose slightly only from Taiwan (+0.7 percent).
Exports unexpectedly declined by 3.3 percent to CNY 1.23 trillion (approximately USD 200 billion). Sales fell to: Russia (-42.1 percent), Japan (-20.4 percent), Australia (-22 percent), Brazil (-17.8 percent), Hong Kong (-10.9 percent), South Korea (-9.7 percent), the EU countries (-4.4 percent) and South Africa (-2.6 percent). In contrast, outbond shipments increased to: the ASEAN countries (+15.6 percent), Taiwan (+8.6 percent), India (+5.1 percent), New Zealand (+6.1 percent), the US (+4.9 percent) and Canada (+2.0 percent).
Since the Lunar New Year typically falls in January or February, the country's trade figure in early year often considered as volatile, due to companies rushing to fill orders ahead of holidays.