Wednesday, September 24, 2014   

China trade volumes bounce in April
(05-08 12:02)

China's exports and imports rose marginally in April, official data showed Thursday, rebounding from sharp declines the month before amid a growth slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
Exports crept up 0.9 percent year-on-year to US$188.54 billion, the General Administration of Customs announced, while imports increased 0.8 percent to US$170.09 billion, resulting in a surplus of US$18.45 billion, AFP reports.
The figures come a month after Customs reported that China's trade volumes fell dramatically in March, which analysts blamed on the continued impact of fake reporting of exports seen in early 2013.
In March imports slumped 11.3 percent year-on-year to US$162.4 billion while exports fell 6.6 percent to US$170.1 billion, for a trade surplus of US$7.7 billion.
China had recorded an unexpected trade deficit of almost US$23 billion in February, which authorities blamed on the Lunar New Year holiday season. That result was China's first monthly deficit in 11 months.
China's economy grew 7.4 percent in the first three months of 2014, weaker than the 7.7 percent in October-December last year and the worst since a similar 7.4 percent expansion in the third quarter of 2012.
Concerns over China's growth outlook have increased this year after a series of weaker-than-expected statistics, though trade distortions have partially clouded the situation.
"China's trade data show signs of recovery but continue to understate the true health of the export sector,'' Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics in Singapore, wrote in a reaction to the April figures.
"April's low export growth was, as in previous months, largely caused by rampant over-invoicing of trade to avoid capital flows last year, which has created an artificially strong base for comparison,'' he added.
But the distortions seemed set to fade as Chinese officials appear to have taken steps to deal with over-invoicing about this time last year, he added.
Slowing property activity suppressing commodity imports meant the outlook for import growth was "relatively weak'', he said.
"China is likely to continue to post large trade surpluses this year.''   
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