China's March exports smash expectations, but imports fall short, Beijing data show

Lester Mason
April 14, 2019

China's March exports came in at a 14.2% year-on-year increase, following a steep 20.8% decline in the combined months of January and February, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on Friday.

Meanwhile, China's aluminium exports rebounded 59 percent month-on-month from a two-year low in February to reach 546,000 tonnes in March. Chinese officials are understood to be about to sign a...

On Wednesday, news agencies reported that China and the U.S. have agreed to set up enforcement offices to monitor the implementation of trade pledges, reflecting concrete steps taken between both parties to getting a trade deal sorted out.

Washington and Beijing have slapped tariffs on more than US$360 billion (RM1.49 trillion) in two-way goods trade, weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.

Over the first quarter of 2019, China's total trade surplus widened to US$76.31 billion, up from US$54.6 billion in the final quarter of 2018.

President Donald Trump said last week that an agreement could be reached in about four weeks. "We try to adjust for the shifting vacation but our model for trade still has residual seasonality, showing a month-on-month leap in March and plummet in February".

The trade dispute has prompted some United States firms to shift purchases of tariff-targeted products like furniture and refrigerators to countries such as Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico, according to a report by S&P Global Market Intelligence's trade data firm Panjiva.

Policymakers have acknowledged the economy is under pressure as multi-year debt and pollution crackdown have deterred investment, while the trade war is increasingly hurting China's exporters and their domestic supply chains. Imports could strengthen with the help of a stimulus package from Beijing. State-controlled banks are also being urged to keep lending to companies that are struggling.

China will still need to loosen policy further in coming months to ensure a sustained economic turnaround, they said.

The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that China is projected to grow by 6.3 percent this year, higher than the fund's previous forecast of 6.2 percent.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article