China's Exports Rise Less Than Expected In March

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China's exports logged a double-digit growth in March but at a slower than expected pace, while imports growth exceeded expectations amid rising commodity prices, data from the customs office revealed on Tuesday.

Exports increased 30.6 percent year-on-year in March, slower than the forecast of 35.5 percent. The pace of expansion also eased sharply from 60.6 percent seen in January to February period largely lower base for comparison.

Exports to the United States advanced 53.3 percent from last year.

Meanwhile, imports advanced 38.1 percent annually, much faster than the expected growth of 23.3 percent.

Consequently, the trade surplus fell to $13.8 billion and well below economists' expectations of $52.05 billion.

Import volume growth is likely to slow as policy support is gradually withdrawn throughout this year and new restrictions to limit the flow of credit to the property sector weigh on investment, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

Meanwhile, exports may now be peaking, with vaccination rollouts starting to reverse the pandemic-induced boost to global demand for Chinese products, the economist added.

According to World Trade Organization, the volume of world merchandise trade is expected to increase 8 percent in 2021, then slow to 4.0 percent in 2022. The effects of the pandemic will continue to be felt as this pace of expansion would still leave trade below its pre-pandemic trend, the WTO said.

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