China’s February exports dropped sharply by 25.4% from a year earlier, while imports fell 13.8%.
The weak data comes on the heels of Beijing registering the slowest economic growth in 25 years.
China’s National People’s Congress, currently underway in the capital, has just revised the 2016 growth target down, predicting a “battle for growth”.
The last month trade figures are likely to raise new fears over China struggling to maintain economic growth while implementing reforms and trying to shift towards more services and domestic spending.
Customs figures showed exports fell to $126.1 billion in February. That was down 25.4% from a year earlier and worse than an expected fall of about 15%.
The poor trade data marks the worst performance since the height of the global financial crisis in May 2009.
However, analysts cautioned that the data might have been affected by the longer-than-usual Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.