China Reports Unexpected ~$23 Billion Trade Deficit In February

China gold silver tradersREUTERS/Bobby YipTraders at the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society demonstrate manual deals settling used before computerization as part of celebrations at the beginning of their first trading day after the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, in Hong Kong, February 14, 2013.

China went into an unexpected trade deficit of $US22.98 billion in February, official figures showed Saturday.

The figure compared with a surplus of $US14.8 billion in the same month last year, and a median forecast of an $US11.9 billion surplus in a poll of 13 economists by Dow Jones Newswires.

Exports fell 18.1 per cent to $US114.10 billion, while imports were up 10.1 per cent to $US137.08 billion during the month, which included most of the Lunar New Year holiday, the General Administration of Customs said.

“The Spring Festival factor caused sharp fluctuations in the monthly growth rate as well as the monthly deficit,” Customs said in a statement accompanying the data.

Chinese traders followed their “business habit” of bringing forward exports ahead of the holiday, and focusing on imports immediately afterwards, it added.

In the first two months of the year, China’s exports were down 1.6 per cent year-on-year to $US321.23 billion and imports rose 10 per cent to $US312.34 billion, it said.

The trade surplus in the two-month period narrowed by 79.1 per cent on-year to $US8.89 billion, it added.

Copyright (2014) AFP. All rights reserved.

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