Chinese exports dropped 18.1% on year in February vs growth of 10.6% in January and consensus of +6.8%.
However, the trend may have been distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday and fake invoicing that boosted the data a year earlier, while the severe winter weather in the U.S. may also have had an effect.
Imports +10.1% vs +10% and +8%.
China swung to a trade deficit of $22.98B last month from a surplus of $31.86B in January and vs forecasts of $14.50B.
"We will probably have to wait for next month's data to get a true picture of the export situation, but we shouldn't worry too much," says UBS economist Wang Tao.
As expected, inflation eased to a 13-month low of 2% on year in February from 2.5% in January. The figure is below the government's 2014 target of 3.5%.
On month, CPI +0.5% vs +1% previously and consensus of +0.8%.
PPI declined for the 24th consecutive month, sinking 2% vs -1.6% and -1.9%. "The risk of deflation is rising in the near term," say ANZ economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao.
The factors that could be dragging on producer prices include weak consumer demand and the excess capacity of some raw material-industries such cement as glass and steel.
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