BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- China's exports would fall 5 percent and imports contract 11.7 percent in 2009 from a year earlier, forecast investment bank Merrill Lynch.
In January China's s exports were down 17.5 percent year-on-year and imports were down 43.1 percent. The data was distorted by the timing of the lunar New Year and also showed the effects of the global recession.
For the first quarter of 2009, the investment bank expects a 7-percent slump in exports and 20-percent decline in imports.
Trade surplus would increase to 358 billion U.S. dollars this year from 296 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, the bank said.