China’s trade falls sharply in February


BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade fell sharply in February as weak global demand combined with a business shutdown during the Lunar New Year holiday to depress sales.

Data released Tuesday showed exports fell 25.4 percent from a year earlier while imports were down 13.8 percent.

The slump in trade has complicated the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to overhaul its state-dominated economy by raising risks of politically dangerous job losses.

The ruling party refrained from announcing a growth target for this year’s trade after exports contracted by 2.8 percent last year.

The country’s economic slowdown has depressed demand for imports. February’s numbers also were hit by a two-week shutdown by factories and many other employers for the Lunar New Year holiday.