November 23, 2017 / 7:21 AM / a year ago

China's trade with North Korea sinks in Oct after U.N. sanctions

BEIJING, Nov 23 (Reuters) - China’s trade with North Korea fell in October to $334.9 million, its lowest since February, as imports shrank to their weakest in years, data showed on Thursday, the latest sign that sanctions have crimped business with its isolated neighbour.

The total is down almost 20 percent from September and compares with $525.2 million a year ago, according to customs’ data.

The world’s second-largest economy bought goods worth $90.75 million in October from North Korea, down sharply from $145.8 million in September and the lowest on government records going back to January 2014, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

Exports plunged to $244.2 million. That compares with $266.4 million in September and $286.9 million in October last year.

The data comes as U.S. President Donald Trump ramps up pressure on President Xi Jinping to tighten the screws further on Pyongyang, with steps such as limits on oil exports and financial transactions, aimed at reining in its nuclear and missile programmes.

Trade has slowed in recent months ahead of the latest steps, but the latest data represents the first whole month since the latest United Nations penalties came into force on Sept. 5, banning Pyongyang from selling coal, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood abroad.

A more detailed breakdown by commodity will be released on Friday. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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