BEIJING, March 7 (Reuters) - China’s exports tumbled 17.2% in January-February from a year earlier, while imports shrank 4%, as a fast spreading coronavirus outbreak caused massive disruptions in economic activity that rippled through global supply chains, customs data showed on Saturday.
The export fall was the steepest since February 2019 and worse than a 14% drop tipped by a Reuters poll of analysts. Exports had risen 7.9% in December.
Analysts had forecast a 15% contraction in imports, reversing sharply from a rise of 16.5% in December.
China posted a trade deficit of $7.09 billion in the first two months of the year, compared with the poll’s forecast for a $24.6-billion surplus, and a reversal of December’s surplus of $47.21 billion.
China did not release trade figures for January alone. (Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Lusha Zhang Editing by Shri Navaratnam)