China exports down 22.6% in April: state media

BEIJING: Chinese exports fell 22.6 percent in April from a year earlier in the sixth straight monthly decline, state media said Tuesday, as the global financial crisis continued to take its toll.

Exports from the world's third-largest economy totalled 91.94 billion dollars last month, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing figures from the customs bureau.

The drop was larger than that recorded in March, despite hopes that China's exports performance would start to improve.

Commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian said in April that China was confident exports would improve "on the basis of the gradual recovery seen in the first quarter."

Exports in March fell by 17.1 percent year-on-year, narrowing from a 25.7 percent dive in February, the worst slump in more than a decade.

China's massive export machine -- on which the nation's economy depends -- has been hit hard since late last year as the global financial crisis has hurt overseas demand.

The slowdown has led to the closure of thousands of exporting factories in the country's manufacturing heartlands.

Chinese authorities in November unveiled a four trillion yuan (580 billion dollar) stimulus package to combat the crisis and to stimulate domestic demand.