China, the export king of the world, experienced a rather surprising month in January 2015. It seems that their exports declined in January 2015, with a 3.3% year-over-year decrease. It is rare China takes a step back from exporting cargo. Many experts predicted a 4% increase in exports during January from China. Specifically, export values took a nosedive with shipments to Hong Kong, Japan and the European Union. Last year, export values from China were significantly higher even with the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, occurring in January. In 2015, this holiday landed in February.

There are many reasons for China’s slumping export market. It seems China’s economic growth is at the slowest level in 24 years. This is especially bad since they need economic growth to sustain more job creation. Although the Chinese yuan is declining, the rising US dollar is impacting trade. Further more, even though Chinese companies can receive good ocean freight shipping rates, the confidence level among exporters is extremely low.

In addition to the export problem, The Wall Street Journal reports that China also has an import problem. Imports to China were down nearly 20% in January. Their trade surplus still exists as a result. There is low demand from Chinese industries for cargo due to overcapacity. And the declining imports in China will continue for many months. While the smartest shippers will speak to a trusted freight forwarder to ensure the best international shipping deals from China, it seems that the economy will play a bigger role in trade.

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