China's imports slow down as domestic demand dips

Shoppers walks through shopping street in Beijing
Image caption China has been trying to boost domestic demand in an attempt to balance the growth of its economy

The pace of growth of imports to China slowed down in June as the government's efforts to rein in growth hit domestic demand.

Imports to China grew by 19.3% in June, compared with a year ago, a sharp decline from the 28.4% surge in May, latest government data showed.

Meanwhile exports rose by 17.9%, a slowdown compared to the 19.4% rise in the previous month.

China is the world's second largest economy and the biggest exporter.

The weaker-than-expected numbers resulted in a trade surplus of $22.3bn (£13.8bn) in June.

"Imports were below expectations," said David Cohen of Action Economics in Singapore.

"We are perhaps seeing some reflection of loss of momentum in China's growth," he added.

Mr Cohen said that the recent measures by China to tighten its monetary policy were starting to have an impact on the pace of growth in the country.

"The numbers are consistent with decelerating growth, with the soft landing that many people are looking for," he said.

Analysts are concerned that domestic demand is also being hit by rising consumer prices in the country.

Data out on Saturday showed that inflation in China hit its highest level in three years as prices rose by 6.4% in June, compared with a year ago.