Decline In Chinese Trade Eases In June

BEIJING (AP) -- China's exports fell again in June, but the decline was less severe than in May, a deputy commerce minister said Thursday.

Chen Jian, speaking at a news conference, said he had no detailed data for June, which are due to be reported next week.

"The basic idea I can tell is from January to June, the trade data fell year-on-year, but in June the decline narrowed. Some individual products rebounded," Chen said.

China's exports in May fell by a record 26.4 percent from the same month of 2008, while imports were down 25.2 percent, according to customs data.

Other indicators also are improving. Two surveys released Wednesday showed manufacturing expanding in June and bank lending also grew strongly.

The World Bank raised its 2009 economic growth forecast for China from 6.5 percent to 7.2 percent last month due to its stimulus-driven investment boom. Private sector economists also have raised their growth forecasts.

Optimism about the economy helped to boost China's main stock index by 62.5 percent over the first half of the year, making it the best performer among major markets.

Foreign direct investment in China has fallen for eight straight months through May, the longest decline since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

Associated Press researcher Bonnie Cao in Beijing contributed to this report.

More in Supply Chain