Beijing has sought to boost business activity in a country grappling with a major property crisis and weaker consumption since officials abolished their strict zero-Covid policy at the end of last year.
Exports – long a key driver of the growth – sank 6.4 percent year-on-year last month, according to the General Administration of Customs.
The reading was much worse than the 3.5 percent drop forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists and slightly heavier than September.
Apart from a brief rebound in March and April, exports have been in constant decline since last October.
“Export growth remained sluggish as the economic momentum in the United States and Europe slowed,” said Zhang Zhiwei of Pinpoint Asset Management,adding that external demand was likely to remain weak in coming months.
Imports, however, rose 3 percent, bucking a forecast drop of 5 percent and notching the first month of on-year growth since late last year.
The rise in imports could be a signal that domestic demand in China is recovering from months of weakness.