On Sunday China released its October trade figures with exports, imports, and the size of the overall trade surplus coming in lower than expected.
From a year earlier exports fell by 6.9%, below the 3.7% drop of September and expectations for a decline of 3.0%.
On the other side of the ledger, imports skidded by 18.8% from October 2014. While an improvement on the 20.4% drop of September, the reading missed expectations for a smaller fall of 16.0%.
With the value of exports declining at a far slower pace than imports, the trade surplus rose to $61.64 billion, the highest level on record. Despite setting a new record monthly surplus, the figure missed forecasts for an expansion to $64.75 billion.
From an Australian perspective, the news was all gloomy.
Chinese iron ore imports fell to 75.52 million tonnes during the month, down 12.3% on September, leaving the annual decline at 4.9%. Reflective of the broader trend, between January to October iron ore imports totalled 774.5 million tonnes, down 0.5% on the same period of 2014.
The figures are similar to those reported by the Port Hedland Port Authority last week which revealed iron ore exports to China fell 9% to 33.782 million tonnes in October.
Like iron ore, Chinese coal imports also fell heavily, dropping 21.4% from September to 13.96 million tonnes. Between January to October, total coal imports came in at 170.3 million tonnes, down 29.9% on the same period a year earlier.
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