Data over the weekend raised further concerns of a slowdown in China.
On Saturday, the General Administration of Customs reported that China's exports fell 18.1 percent in February from a year ago. Imports rose 10.1 percent.
The Lunar New Year may have affected the trade performance as exports were brought forward. However, even for January and February combined, exports fell 1.6 percent as imports rose 10.0 percent.
Indeed, on Sunday, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that the inflation rate fell to 2.0 percent in February from 2.5 percent in January, with food prices going up by only 2.7 percent despite the Lunar New Year.
The producer price index fell by 2.0 percent in February, accelerating from January's 1.6 percent fall.
The data prompted economists at ANZ bank to write that “the risk of deflation is rising in the near term”.