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May 9, 2016

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China’s exports rise slower and imports fall amid weak recovery

CHINA’S exports rose sharply slower while imports fell by a wider margin in April month on month amid a still weak recovery momentum.

Exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 4.1 percent year on year last month to 1.13 trillion yuan (US$174 million), slower than the 18.7 percent jump in March, data from the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday.

Imports fell 5.7 percent year on year to 827.5 billion yuan, falling for the 18th straight month and the drop widened from the 1.7 percent decrease in March.

But China’s trade surplus grew to 298 billion yuan in April, up from 194.6 billion yuan in March.

Year on year foreign trade dipped 0.3 percent to 1.95 trillion yuan last month and slipped 4.4 percent to 7.17 trillion yuan in the first four months of the year.

“The April exports data weakened significantly from March, but it improved from the first quarter’s performance. Imports continued to drop quickly, reflecting weak domestic demand, and the weakness may extend in the near future,” China International Capital Corp said in a note.

“In the medium term, recovery in the world’s major economies will be weak and so will global trade,” the note added.

Exports to the European Union, China’s largest trade partner, rose 1.3 percent year on year in the first four months, while exports to the US and the Association for Southeast Asian Nations, China’s second- and third-largest trade partners, both shed 3.5 percent, the data showed.

Growth in exports is expected to be flat in May while imports may rise due to expansionary domestic monetary and fiscal policies, analysts at the Bank of Communications said in a report.

The latest trade data, however, echoed the generally weak manufacturing and services activity data released last week that pointed to the country’s weak economic recovery.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index showed manufacturing dipped to 50.1 in April from 50.2 in March although it stayed in the expansionary territory for the second straight month.

The official non-manufacturing PMI dipped to 53.5 in April from the previous month’s 53.8.

China’s economy rose 6.7 percent year on year in the first quarter, the slowest in seven years, official data showed.


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