Exports to Germany, China's biggest European trading partner, fell 7 percent while shipments to France declined 6.7 percent.
Analysts have warned Beijing also faces possible risks from a rapid rise in bank lending and local government debt, part of which paid for the stimulus that helped China rebound quickly from the 2008 crisis.
The ratings agency Fitch cut its rating on China's long-term local currency sovereign debt late Tuesday, citing potential risks from rapid growth in credit and local government debt loads. The rating was cut from AA- to a still healthy A+.
The change is unlikely to cause trouble for the government because it has relatively low debt levels compared with other major economies. Fitch left its rating on China's foreign-currency government debt unchanged.
Fitch said its analysts believe China's total credit may have risen to the equivalent of 198 percent of gross domestic product by the end of 2012 from 125 percent in 2008. It said that includes bank credit and informal lending used by entrepreneurs who often cannot get loans from the state-owned financial industry.
Debt of local governments rose to 25.1 percent of GDP at the end of 2012 from 23.4 percent a year earlier, Fitch said.
"Risks over China's financial stability have grown," said a Fitch statement. It warned that "underlying structural weaknesses" including relatively low economic development despite rapid growth "weigh on China's ratings."
AP Business Writer Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and researcher Flora Ji in Beijing contributed.
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