China posted a big surge in its exports to the US again last month

A cargo ship docked at Qingdao, China. Photo: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

China’s exports and imports did not rise as much as expected last month, leaving the world’s second-largest economy with a bigger trade surplus.

Exports in April rose 8% from a year earlier compared with expectations for a 10.4% rise. Imports expanded 11.9% compared with forecast for a 18% jump, data from the General Administration of Customs said.

That left the country with a trade surplus of $US38.05 billion for the month, wider than expectations for $US35.5 billion.

The smaller-than-expected rise in exports and imports underscores the challenges the global economic recovery faces.

China’s imports and exports are seen stabilising and will improve in the near future, the Ministry of Commerce said last week in its quarterly report on foreign trade trends. Foreign trade is expected to face a better environment in 2017 compared with the past two years, it said.

China’s trade surplus with the U.S. was $US21.34 billion in April compared with $US17.74 billion a month earlier, according to data from the customs bureau.

Exports to the US climbed 11.7% while imports from there nudged up 1.5%.

The burgeoning surplus with US has drawn the ire of US president Donald Trump, who has pressed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to reduce the gap.

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