China's exports dropped 6.6 percent year on year to 1.14 trillion yuan (175 billion U.S. dollars ) in January while imports declined 14.4 percent to 737.5 billion yuan, customs data showed on Monday.
The monthly foreign trade surplus widened 12.2 percent year on year to 406.2 billion yuan (62.38 billion U.S. dollars) in January, up from 382 billion yuan a month earlier, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
Total foreign trade value in January edged down 9.8 percent year on year to 1.88 trillion yuan.
Trade with China's three biggest trade partners, the European Union, the United States and the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), all dropped around 10 percent.
Exports and imports by state-owned companies were among those badly hit, diving 15.7 and 25.7 percent year on year respectively, while private firms reported about 1 percent increase in both exports and imports.
The leading index for China's exports stood at 31.7 in January, the first time it increased from the previous month since February 2015, signalling less export pressure in the second quarter of 2016, the GAC said.
In dollar-denominated terms, China's exports fell for the seventh consecutive month, by 11.2 percent from one year earlier in January, worsening from December's 1.4 percent decline. Imports decline also widened to 18.8 percent.
In 2015, exports fell 1.8 percent year on year to 14.14 trillion yuan, while imports declined 13.2 percent to 10.45 trillion yuan.