China's trade shrank in April in a sign government stimulus is failing to jolt the world's second-largest economy out of a prolonged slowdown.
Exports contracted by 1.8 percent from a year earlier to $172.7 billion, falling back into negative territory after March's temporary burst of 11.5 percent growth, customs data showed Sunday. Imports plunged 10.9 percent to $127.2 billion after the previous month's 13.8 percent contraction.
Weak demand from consumers in China and worldwide is hampering government efforts to reverse an economic slowdown that dragged growth to a seven-year low of 6.7 percent in the first quarter of the year.
Beijing has eased controls on credit growth and real estate purchases in hopes of stimulating activity but analysts said the impact was likely to be temporary. They said March's unexpectedly strong trade growth also was a fluke due to comparison with weak numbers last year and the resumption of business after the Lunar New Year holiday in February.
Surveys of manufacturers showed factory activity weakened in April and the number of people employed declined.