China's international trade performance declined during April 2016, kindling fresh fears about the health of the Asian superpower's economy.
During the last month, the country's exports fell 1.8 per cent compared to April 2015, despite an improvement having been seen in March. Imports, meanwhile, sank 10.9 per cent year over year, marking the 18th consecutive monthly decline.
Both of these drops were greater than economists had predicted, particularly after the unexpected export rise in March, and indicates that domestic demand remains weak, despite elevated infrastructure spending and record credit growth in the first quarter.
Although shipments to the EU - China's second-largest trading partner - rose 3.2 percent, this was offset by a 9.3 per cent decline in exports to its single biggest market, the US.
Overall, the figures indicate that the March improvement may have been an aberration and that China may struggle to meet its economic targets for the year.
Zhou Hao, senior emerging market economist at Commerzbank in Singapore, said: "Both exports and imports came in weaker than expected, in line with the soft trade performance across Asia, pointing to another challenging year for emerging markets."