China’s exports declined in May for a third straight month and imports slumped for the seventh, underscoring weak external demand and a sluggish domestic environment.

Overseas shipments fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier in yuan value, the customs administration said in Beijing on Monday. That compared with the median estimate for a 4 percent decline in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Imports slid 18.1 percent, leaving a trade surplus of 366.8 billion yuan ($59.1 billion).

China’s exports last month fell 2.5 percent from a year earlier in dollar terms, while imports plunged 17.6 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $59.49 billion, customs data showed.

The Shanghai Composite Index dropped below 5,000 briefly after the data were first reported by China Central Television and then gained 0.6 percent as of 10:37 a.m. local time.

The trade slowdown coincides with a slump in investment growth that is putting Premier Li Keqiang’s 2015 growth target of about 7 percent at risk. In response, officials have eased monetary policy and engineered a debt swap for local governments so they can keep funding infrastructure projects.

Source : Bloomberg