Beijing (dpa) - The economic consequences of the corona crisis caused China's foreign trade to collapse by 9.3 percent in May. The largest trading nation's exports decreased by 3.3 percent in US dollars.

Imports even dropped 16.7 percent compared to the same period last year, as China's customs reported in Beijing. Exports performed better than expected despite declining global demand, but imports performed worse than predicted.

The trade surplus reached a record high of $ 62.93 billion - more than ever before. Trade with Germany fell 9.4 percent in US dollars in May. China bought German goods for 14.8 percent less. Its exports to Germany fell 2.2 percent. Overall, the Chinese exchange of goods with the European Union decreased by 7.3 percent. China's exports fell 4.1 percent, while imports from the EU fell 11.8 percent.

Trade with the United States fell 12.7 percent year-on-year. The two largest economies have been in a trade war with mutually imposed special tariffs for two years now - now the corona crisis is added. China's exports to the US fell 14.3 percent in May, while imports from the US dropped 7.6 percent.

The prospects for exporting the second largest economy remain poor. Economic barometers indicate that export orders continued to decline in May. Exports had developed surprisingly well in April with an increase of 3.5 percent. But orders had been processed since the Chinese New Year at the end of January. Imports had already dropped by 14.2 percent in April.

Global uncertainties for China's economy had prompted the government in May not to target growth for the first time in nearly two decades. It had slumped by 6.8 percent in the first quarter. In 2019, growth of 6.1 percent was still within the 6.0 to 6.5 percent target. However, the government plans to create around nine million new jobs this year. According to experts, this would require three percent growth.