China’s bottled wine imports in the first three months of the year failed to show any signs of uptick, and continued with the downward trend with double-digit drops in both volume and value, suggesting an overall cautious mood among wine merchants and consumers, amid slowing economy and uncertainties of US-China trade war.

The overall import volume for bottled wines during the first three months of the year dipped by 22.3% year-on-year to 156,02 million litres, while its value slumped by 20.19% to US$782 million, according to figures obtained by Chinese wine media WBO.

The tepid trend seems to confirm what the trade generally fear that 2019 is going to be even more challenging than 2018, which saw overall import volume dropping by 8.9%, the first drop since 2014.

Additionally, slowing economy and uncertainties with US-China trade war gave currency to concerns over the country’s economy and negative sentiment on consumption among consumers, households and companies.

This dims hopes of growth for importers who are banking on a rebound in March following Chinese spring festival in February, which normally is a high season for wine sales.

The sharpest drop so far this year appeared in March where imports for bottled wine saw further drops of 36.12% in volume and another 40.09% in value, the figures showed.

Imports in general within mainland China are suffering, not just limited to wine.

The country’s overall imports fell 7.6% in March, after a 19.9% collapse in January and February, according to SCMP.

There are encouraging signs that the US and China, the world’s two biggest economies are closing to reach a trade deal, but analysts cautioned that even with the agreement, the country’s economy is unlikely to see sharp growth.

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