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China Exports Fall Unexpectedly In April; Imports Rise

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China's exports fell unexpectedly in April, while imports rebounded, official customs data showed on Wednesday, ahead of crucial trade talks between the country and the United States.

Exports fell 2.7 percent year-on-year in April, after a 14.2 percent rise in March. Economists had expected a 3.0 percent rise.

Imports rose 4.0 percent annually in April, reversing a 7.6 percent decline in the previous month. Economists had forecast 3.6 percent fall.

The trade surplus was $13.84 billion in April, while economists had forecast a surplus of $35 billion.

Meanwhile, the trade surplus with the US grew to $21.01 billion in April from $20.5 billion in March. Imports from the US fell about 26 percent and exports decreased more than 13 percent.

Negotiators from the US and China are set to meet in Washington this week to resolve trade tensions.

Sharply higher trade tariffs on Chinese goods as announced by US President Donald Trump will take effect on Friday. China is aiming to avoid those during the talks and prevent further escalation of the tensions.

"These numbers reflect the negative outlook for smart devices and automobile sales globally, and at the same show that China is importing more crude oil for domestic use," ING economist Iris Pang said.

"If the trade dispute escalates further, we expect the US to push even harder on its Western allies not to use China-made 5G products and parts, which will dampen China's future exports," she added.

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