China exports rise at robust pace in Mar, imports growth highest in 4 years

By Gabriel Crossley

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's exports grew at a robust pace in March in yet another boost to the nation's economic recovery as global demand picks up amid progress in worldwide COVID-19 vaccination, while import growth surged to the highest in four years.

The data reinforces signs of gathering momentum for the world's second largest economy as it emerges from the COVID-19-led slump in early 2020.

Exports in dollar terms soared 30.6% in March from a year earlier, but at a slower pace from a record 154.9% growth in February. The analysts polled by Reuters have forecast a 35.5% jump in shipments.

Imports increased 38.1% year-on-year last month, the highest since February 2017, beating a 23.3% forecast and compared with 17.3% growth in February.

China posted a trade surplus of $13.8 billion last month, versus analysts expectations for the surplus to rise to $52.05 billion from $37.88 billion in February.

Despite sporadic COVID-19 cases in China's border cities, authorities have been able to largely contain the virus in a boost to factory activity as production has gradually picked up to pre-pandemic levels.

Beijing managed to largely bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control much earlier than many countries thanks to stringent anti-virus curbs and lockdowns at the initial phase of the outbreak last year.

That has helped its economy mount a rapid turnaround after a slump at the start of 2020, led by resurgent exports growth as factories raced to fill overseas orders.

Global demand for Chinese goods have remained strong as the world economic recovery has continued to gather pace helped in part by stepped up vaccination efforts.

China's gross domestic product expanded 2.3% last year, the only major economy to post growth in 2020, underpinned by solid demand for goods such as medical and work-from-home equipment.

Still, the massive initial hit from the COVID-19 crisis meant China's growth in 2020 was still its weakest in 44 years.

This year, China has set a modest growth target of at least 6%, as authorities plotted a careful course out of a year disrupted by COVID-19 and amid heightened tensions with the United States.

China's trade surplus with the United States slipped to $21.37 billion in March from a $23.01 billion in February.

President Joe Biden said last month that the United States was not seeking confrontation with China over differences on trade.

 

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Stella Qiu, additional reporting by Colin Qian; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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