Imports of copper, used in electric wiring and consumer goods fell, decreasing 18.8 percent in April over the previous year to an 8-month low. The news led to a decline in copper prices to below $8,000 per tonne on Wednesday.
The growth in China’s crude oil imports has also slowed. In April, oil imports rose 3.3 percent year-on-year to 22.26 million metric tons, the slowest pace so far this year, according to data released on Thursday by the General Administration of Customs.
While helping to ease global commodity prices, a slowdown in China could also have a painful, direct impact on global GDP growth. China is now the single largest contributor to global economic growth, the IMF said earlier this year. The nation’s contribution likely increased to 31 percent of global economic growth on average for 2010-13 from 8 percent in the 1980s, the IMF said.
In the worst-case scenario where the Chinese government did not implement stimulus measures to boost growth this summer, GDP growth of 6 percent for the country is not “inconceivable”, Neumann said.
That would be the slowest since 1999, when the Chinese economy expanded 6.7 percent, according to data from the International Monetary Fund.
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