China's imports decreased at their slowest pace in more than a year and a half in May, official data showed Wednesday, in a possible sign domestic demand in the world's second-largest economy may be recovering.
China said imports fell in May at their slowest pace for 19 months, fueling hopes of a pick-up in demand, but traders in Hong Kong and Shanghai gave a muted reaction Wednesday.
China promised Tuesday to rein in steel production flooding global markets and agreed to work with the U.S. in enforcing anti-nuclear sanctions against North Korea, but the two sides announced no progress on simmering disputes in the South China Sea as they ended high level talks.
Foreign companies face an "increasingly hostile" environment in China, a European business lobby said on Tuesday, with fewer than half of its members saying they currently plan to expand operations in the world's second-largest economy.
Chinese oversupply of steel is "damaging and distorting" global markets, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Monday, joining a chorus of criticism that blames Beijing for plant closures and job losses in the industry worldwide.
Activity in Chinese factories expanded for the third straight month in May, official data showed, a further sign of stabilization in the world's second largest economy after a period of slow growth.
China's key economic indicators moderated in April from the previous month, official figures showed on Saturday, raising worries over the strength of a rebound in the world's second-largest economy.
China's Cabinet has approved measures to boost exports in a move that might inflame tensions with Western trading partners that accuse Beijing of flooding their markets with steel and other goods at improperly low prices.
Mainland Chinese producer prices declined at their slowest rate in 16 months in April, official data showed Tuesday, a positive sign for the world's second-largest economy.
The Chinese economy is unlikely to see a V- or U-shaped recovery in the next year or two, but a flat L-shaped growth amid the country's slow demand and excess production capacity, The People's Daily quoted "a powerful figure in authority" in reporting on Monday.