China Exports Rise More Than Expected; Imports Drop Unexpectedly

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China's exports grew more than expected in March and imports logged an unexpected fall largely due to the lockdown and supply chain disruptions, official data revealed on Wednesday.

Exports grew 14.7 percent on a yearly basis in March, the General Administration of Customs said. This was faster than the expected growth of 13.0 percent but slower than the 16.3 percent expansion posted in January to February period.

Meanwhile, imports dropped 0.1 percent from the last year, confounding expectations for an increase of 8.0 percent. Imports had increased 15.5 percent in the first two months of the year.

As a result, the trade surplus came in at $47.38 billion in March, which was well above the expected level of $22.4 billion.

While disruptions from the latest COVID-19 outbreak are partly to blame for the fall in goods trade, shifts on the demand-side played a bigger role, Julian Evans-Pritchard and Sheana Yue, economists at Capital Economics, said.

Economists said export volumes are set to fall further over the coming quarters. Import volumes are also likely to remain soft.

High commodity prices will continue to prop up import values in the near-term, they said. But prices are expected to drop back during the second half of the year as uncertainty surrounding the war in Ukraine eases.

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