Confidence in global trading markets has taken a hit following the publication of disappointing international trade data from China for September 2016.
Official figures from the Asian superpower showed that Chinese exports in September fell ten per cent in dollar terms and imports fell 1.9 per cent, resulting in a trade surplus of $41.99 billion (€38.12 billion).
A Reuters poll of analysts had predicted that exports would only fall by three per cent, while imports had been forecast to rise by one per cent year on year, following the improvement seen in August. As such, the actual results came as a significant disappointment.
Weakening demand both domestically and abroad was responsible for the September slump, while a depreciation in the Chinese yuan saw the currency hit a six-year low against the improving US dollar on Thursday.
The results will add fuel to expectations that global trading conditions are likely to remain sluggish for some time.
Luis Kujis, head of Asian economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong, said: "This comes on the heels of weak South Korean trade data, and it definitely make us worry about to what extent global demand is improving."