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[BEIJING] China's exports as calculated in yuan fell 14.6 per cent in March from a year ago, government data showed on Monday, suggesting that a lacklustre trade sector was a drag on the country's slackening economy.
China usually reports its trade figures in US dollars but on Monday that data was not yet available.
In a sign of soft domestic demand, yuan-denominated imports into the world's second-biggest economy last month fell 12.3 per cent from a year ago, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
The performance left China with a trade surplus of 18.2 billion yuan (S$4 billion) last month, according to the yuan figures released on Monday.
Analysts have expected exports as measured in US dollars to rise 12 per cent in March on a yearly basis.
The forecast was for a 11.7 per cent drop in dollar-denominated imports, leaving China with a US$45.4 billion surplus.
In line with the slowing Chinese economy, China's trade sector has been buffeted by lacklustre foreign and domestic demand in the past year, raising concerns among policymakers.