Reduced demand from Europe hit Asia’s export-powered economies in January.
China’s factory activity picked up modestly according to government surveys of purchasing managers but new export orders fell sharply from December.
“As the external demand is now fading clearly, Chinese exporters are facing increasing difficulties,” China’s Finance Minister Xie Xuren said on Wednesday.
In South Korea, exports posted a shocking 6.6 percent drop from a year earlier in January.
In Taiwan, faltering exports means factory activity shrank for the eight straight month.
Meanwhile, the first rise in German manufacturing output in seven months was not enough to offset prolonged contraction in the currency union’s smaller economies and suggests that the bloc will not avoid that recession.
French manufacturing contracted again in January, as did major economies Spain and Italy, as well as Greece and Ireland.
Data from Britain was decidedly more upbeat than the figures from continental Europe, showing its manufacturing sector unexpectedly grew in January.