On import side, we also had a lot of issues with very aggressive buying by Chinese firms of commodities. We now have an over-hang of that and commodity imports are coming down because of the involuntary buildup of stocks," he added.
Following the release of the trade figures, Premier Li Keqiang said China will not be taking any forceful stimulus measures to counter short-term fluctuations in growth, appearing to downplay expectations of aggressive action from policymakers to prop up the economy.
According to Kuijs, Beijing is walking a fine line between supporting growth and doing too much.
"They do not want to be seen as pursuing stimulus policies as they did in 2010 cause that did not go down well," he said, referring to the massive stimulus injected into the economy during the last global financial crisis which came under criticism for creating hot money flows.
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"But they are also keen to keep growth above that bottom line of 7.5 percent, so they are willing to support growth but without being seen as providing too many stimulus. So in coming months, their stance is going to be very data-dependent," he added.
Nicholas Ferres, investment director of global asset allocation at Eastspring Investments, believes it's only a matter of time before China takes more aggressive measures, which may be why markets are staying optimistic.
Last week, Beijing announced what many describe as a mini-stimulus, announcing plans to accelerate spending on railways, upgrade housing for low-income households and lower tax rates for smaller companies.
"We're back to the twisted logic that bad news is good news. I suspect that despite Premier Li's words, Beijing will be forced to ease. Easing could come in the form of a RRR cut, an interest rate cut or currency weakness," Ferres said.