China's trade slowed, but the surplus still widened. Photo: Reuters

Mining stocks were knocked down from recent highs after China imports missed forecasts of 16.6% growth, expanding at an 11% pace for July. The mining sector is weaker in Europe and Australia following the data release.

Chinese exports also underwhelmed, growing 7.2% to start the third quarter, versus estimates of 10.9% rise. It was the weakest growth since February.

But a broader trend of positive economic data from China will likely limit the impact of the July numbers.

“Investors are enjoying the current spell of low inflation and strong growth, and one set of weak-looking data from China will not upset that trend,” Koon Chow, strategist at UBP told the Financial Times.