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Why China’s Export Slide Isn’t As Bad As It Looks

World's Largest Container Ship The CSCL Globe Docks At Felixstowe PortWorld's Largest Container Ship The CSCL Globe Docks At Felixstowe Port
Shipping rates are the lowest the shipping industry has ever seen.Photograph by Simon Dawson — Bloomberg/Getty Images

China’s trade data released yesterday looks ugly—a 6.9% year-over-year decline in exports in October from a 3.7% fall in September.

Since China supplies the world, the data weren’t promising for global growth.

But a closer look shows that an almost year-long recovery in Chinese exports isn’t stopping—in fact it is continuing, albeit slowly.

The 6.9% year-over-year export decline is being compared to 2014 trade data, which spiked near the end of the year. In that context, while the slow recovery in exports this year isn’t wildly encouraging, it doesn’t appear as dire as China’s latest trade figure suggests either.

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Here’s another chart of the tough comparison exports have to late 2014 numbers.

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