China's customs authorities reported Monday the Asian nation's imports plunged by 12.5 percent in July year-on-year.
Goods bought from partners abroad totaled $132.4 billion as weaker global commodity prices and slumping domestic demand weighed on purchases.
Exports also dropped markedly. They fell by 4.4 percent to $184.7 billion in July, disappointing analysts.
"Signs of stronger manufacturing activity among many of China's key trading partners have so far failed to lift export growth," Capital Economics expert Julian Evans-Pritchard said in a research note.
China is the world's biggest trader in goods and is crucial to the global economy, with its performance affecting partners around the globe.
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