The key reason for slowing import growth is the diminishing role of the processing sector. But imports that feed domestic consumption will continue to rise.
Louis Kuijs and Gary Duncan from Oxford Economics, a leading global economic advisory firm, look ahead to what could be a watershed period in its economic history.
At the start of the year, most forecasters and observers – including ourselves – expected global trade growth to strengthen in 2014, building on the recovery that began last year.
China's leaders are likely to disappoint those hoping for sweeping economic reforms at the third plenum of the Communist Party's 18th Central Committee. Luckily, the Chinese economy is sufficiently robust that growth will not be derailed by a failure to tackle a series of intractable problems. Not for now at least.
Investors may have been too quick to jettison Asian assets during their recent pullback from emerging markets. While some economies, including India and Indonesia, have proved vulnerable to fears of scarcer global liquidity, Asia's emerging economies still boast stronger macro fundamentals and are better prepared for capital outflows than during earlier crises.