Photo: Wikimedia Commons
BEIJING (AP) — China returned to a trade surplus in March but growth in exports and imports was weak amid lower U.S. and European demand.Exports rose 8.9 per cent over a year earlier to $165.6 billion, while imports grew 5.3 per cent to $160.3 billion, trade data showed Tuesday.
That growth was well below China’s double-digit levels in recent years but in line with the combined January-February period, which analysts look at to screen out the impact of the Lunar New Year holiday, when companies close for a week or more.
China’s global trade surplus was $5.3 billion, a turnaround from February’s rare monthly deficit of $31.5 billion.
Export growth in January-February was 6.9 per cent, while import growth was 7.7 per cent.
China’s flagging domestic demand as its relatively robust economy slows is a bad sign for Australia, Brazil and Asian economies that count on Chinese customers to buy oil, iron ore and industrial components.
China’s economic growth slowed to 8.9 per cent in the final quarter of 2011 and analysts expect it to fall further in this year’s first quarter. Data on that are due to be released this week.