BEIJING -- China's trade figures disappointed analyst expectations by a wide margin in October, reinforcing views that the world's second-largest economy will likely have to do more to stimulate domestic demand given stubborn softness in overseas markets.
While Beijing has already repeatedly cut interest rates and softened the exchange rate to prop up the economy, latest trade numbers suggest that a greater risk of a hard landing remains.
October exports fell 6.9 percent from a year ago, dropping for a fourth month, while imports slipped 18.8 percent, leaving the country with a record high trade surplus of $61.64 billion, the General Administration of Customs said on Sunday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected dollar-denominated exports to fall 3.0 percent after a September's 3.7 percent dip, and imports to decline 16.0 percent, improving from a sharp drop of 20.4 percent.
Combined exports and imports fell 8.5 percent in the first 10 months of the year from the same period a year earlier, well below the full-year official target for growth of 6 percent.
"We see that the trade will unlikely turn around the momentum in the near term, and the renminbi exchange rate will be under downward pressure especially as Fed signals to hike soon," Commerzbank China economist Zhou Hao said.
Last week, the Ministry of Commerce said the value of China's exports this year was likely to stay similar to 2014 levels, while imports could drop sharply in the fourth quarter.
For 2016, the ministry expects to see steady growth in combined exports and imports as policy measures to support the trade sector take effect.