China’s foreign trade up 28.5% in Jan-April

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China’s foreign trade expanded 28.5 percent year-on-year to 11.62 trillion yuan (about $1.8 trillion) in the January-April period as global recovery picked up and pent-up demand was unleashed.

This marks an increase of 21.8 percent from the pre-epidemic level in 2019, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said.

Exports jumped 33.8 percent from a year earlier while imports climbed 22.7 percent in yuan terms.

The trade surplus increased 149.7 percent to reach 1.02 trillion yuan in the January-April period.

In April alone, exports jumped 22.2 percent from a year earlier to 1.71 trillion yuan, GAC data shows.

China’s exports sustained sound momentum, said Zhou Maohua, an analyst with the China Everbright Bank, noting that this was driven by the recent strong global economic recovery.

The data shows that China’s exports to the European Union rose 36.1 percent to 974.69 billion yuan, and exports to the United States surged 49.3 percent to 1.05 trillion yuan in the first four months.

The stimulus in developed economies sustained demand for products manufactured in China, noted Lu Ting, chief China economist with securities firm Nomura.

The country’s imports climbed 32.2 percent from a year earlier to 1.44 trillion yuan in April.

China’s manufacturing sector has seen improving vitality, and manufacturers have started to build their stocks, driving the rapid growth of imports of products including energy resources, said Gao Ruidong, chief macroeconomist at Everbright Securities.

The rising prices of bulk commodities have driven up China’s import value, according to Li Qilin from Hongta Securities. China’s imports of iron ore, soybeans and copper all increased in the first four months, GAC data shows.

In April, China’s trade surplus narrowed 12.4 percent from a year earlier to 276.5 billion yuan.