BEIJING: China's exports declined by 17.5% year-on-year in January, the biggest contraction for more than a decade, as the country's economy felt the force of the global financial slowdown.

Alongside declining exports, China's imports fell by 43.1%, while its global trade surplus – the value of goods exported against those imported – increased slightly to $39.1 billion (€30.1bn; £27.1bn) from $39bn in December.

These figures have raised fears about domestic levels of demand and the overall prospects for growth, with an increase in unemployment and factory closures both considered likely by observers.

Citigroup economist Ken Peng delivered a gloomy analysis of the situation, saying: "The numbers are terrible. The environment is awful. The pressure on unemployment will be huge."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff