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China Posts Surplus in March; Both Exports, Imports Weak

04-10 16:22 Caijing
Exports grew 8.9 percent in the month to 164.66 billion U.S. dollars and imports climbed 5.3 percent to 160.31 billion, bringing March’s trade surplus to 5.35 billion

China returned a trade surplus in March but growth in both exports and imports was weak, customers data showed today, beating forecasts of a survey of 50 institutions.

Exports grew 8.9 percent in the month to 164.66 billion U.S. dollars and imports climbed 5.3 percent to 160.31 billion, bringing March’s trade surplus to 5.35 billion from Feb.’ record deficit of 31.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Trade surplus for the first three months stood at 670 million U.S. dollars in the first three months, with exports up 7.6 percent and imports up 6.9 percent, trade data showed.

That compared with a surplus of 48 billion U.S. dollars in the fourth quarter of 2011. "As a result, net exports will likely become a drag on GDP growth in the first quarter 2012, with its contribution to be in negative territory," said chief HSBC economist Qu Hongbin.

Growth in the country eased to 8.9 percent in the final quarter of 2011 after Beijing tightened lending and investment curbs. With domestic demand in constraint, demands outside China remains bleak amid the ongoing European debt and economic crisis.

China’s trade surplus with the 27-nation European Union fell 15 percent to 8.1 billion U.S. dollars, and expanded by 28 percent to 16.6 billion with the United States.

The monthly growth in both imports and exports was below China’s double-digit levels in recent years but in line with the combined Jan.-Feb. period, when companies close for a week or more.

A survey polled economists from 50 banks and other institutions predicted that China’s trade sector would see a narrowing trade deficit, while projecting growth of exports at 7.7 percent and import at 10 percent.

Related:

Forecasts Show Slowing Export Growth, Narrowing Deficits in March

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