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Chinese Trade Figures Plunge in February

FILE - A truck transporting a container leaves the port of Qingdao, in northeast China's Liaoning province.

China's trade activity declined more than expected last month, due to weak demand in the global economy and reduced business activity during the Lunar New Year holidays.

The Customs Bureau announced Tuesday that exports plunged 25.4 percent from the same period a year ago, to $126.1 billion, while imports fell to 13.8 percent to $93.5 billion, marking the 16th straight month of decline in that category.

China's trade surplus finished at $32.6 billion in February.

The world's second-largest economy, and largest trading nation, has been struggling to transform itself from an export-driven economy to one sustained by consumer demand. The economy grew at an annual rate of 6.9 percent in 2015, its slowest pace in 25 years, due to manufacturing overcapacity and falling domestic and export orders.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang set the nation's economic growth objective for 2016 between 6.5 to seven percent of gross domestic product during a speech before the annual session of parliament on Saturday.

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