China's exports and imports fell more than expected in November as strict Covid restrictions continued to disrupt supply chains as well as consumption, further darkening the growth outlook for the biggest Asian economy amid signs of an imminent global recession.

Chinese shipments registered an annual decrease of 8.7 percent in November, data from the General Administration of Customs revealed Wednesday.

Economists had expected a moderate 3.6 percent drop in exports after a 0.3 percent easing in October. This was the second consecutive fall and also the largest since early 2020.

Likewise, imports to China decreased the most since the middle of 2020. Imports fell 10.6 percent annually, bigger than the expected 5.0 percent fall and October's 0.7 percent decrease.

As a result, China's trade balance showed a surplus $69.84 billion, which was below the expected level of $79.05 billion.

Exports set to retreat further over the coming quarters even as China moves away from zero-COVID, Capital Economics' economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said. Of much greater consequence will be the downturn in global demand for Chinese goods due to the reversal in pandemic-era demand and the coming global recession, the economist added.

"The upshot is that virus disruptions and property weakness will continue to weigh on imports in the near term," the economist said.

The S&P Global Purchasing Managers' survey released this week showed that the private sector continued to shrink in November as new business declined strongly.

Last month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projected China's economic growth to slow to 3.3 percent this year before rebounding to 4.6 percent in 2023 and 4.1 percent in 2024.

The projection for this year was much weaker than Beijing's target of around 5.5 percent GDP growth.

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