China's exports and imports fell in January from a year earlier, data showed Friday, as overseas economic woes hurt demand for Chinese goods and factories closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Exports fell 0.5 percent year-on-year in January to $149.94 billion while imports plunged 15.3 percent to $122.66 billion, the customs agency said in a statement.
China's politically sensitive trade surplus -- a constant bugbear for its major trade partners -- widened to $27.28 billion in January from $16.52 billion in the previous month, the statement said.
Analysts have cautioned that January data have been significantly distorted by the earlier-than-usual Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in January this year.
Many of China's factories and businesses cut back production or close their doors during the holiday so their employees can travel home to celebrate the most important festival in the Chinese calendar with their families.
Even so, the data is likely to add to mounting concerns that China's export-driven economy is slowing as the eurozone crisis and weakness in the United States hits demand for Chinese-made products.