China's trade report just beat across the board

Photo: Brendon Thorne/ Getty.
  • China’s trade surplus, along with export and import growth, easily exceeded market expectations in April.
  • A surplus of $28.78 billion was reported in US dollar terms, a sharp turnaround on the $5 billion deficit reported in March.
  • Imports and exports grew by 21.5% and 12.9% respectively in US dollar terms over the year.

China’s trade report beat across the board in April.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a surplus of $28.78 billion was reported in US dollar terms, a sharp turnaround on the $5 billion deficit reported one month earlier.

It was also higher than the $24.7 billion level expected by economists.

The NBS said China’s trade surplus with the United States rose to $22.19 billion from $15.43 billion in March, leaving the cumulative surplus in the first four months of the year at $80.4 billion.

Like the overall trade surplus, annual growth in both exports and imports both handily beat expectations.

The NBS said exports grew by 12.9% in US dollar terms, recovering from a 2.7% drop in the year to March which was partially driven by Lunar New Year holiday effects.

The result was more than double the 6.3% increased forecast by economists.

Import growth also breezed past expectations, jumping by 21.5% from 12 months earlier. The result was an improvement on the 14.4% increase seen in March and forecasts for a smaller acceleration to 16%.

The result was likely driven by both higher commodity prices and stronger demand for raw materials.

Reflecting that the Chinese yuan has appreciated sharply against the US dollar over the past 12 months, the NBS said annual growth in exports and imports stood at 3.7% and 11.6% respectively in yuan-denominated terms.

Whether in USD or CNY terms, the report suggests that demand from both from within and outside of China remained firm at the start of the June quarter.

However, signals on global export demand have weakened in recent months in a variety of economic indicators, including some from China.

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