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China exports, imports rise more than expected in Jan-Feb

Published 03/07/2024, 11:14 AM
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Investing.com-- China’s trade surplus grew more than expected in the first two months of 2024, boosted in part by some resilience in export demand, while imports were also buoyed by increased holiday spending. 

China’s trade balance for the January-February period was $125.16 billion, official data showed on Thursday. The reading was higher than expectations for a surplus of $110.30 billion, and increased from December’s reading of $75.34 billion. 

Exports grew a substantially bigger-than-expected 7.1% year-on-year during the period, much higher than expectations of 1.9%. 

The reading signaled some resilience in overseas demand for Chinese goods, even as economic conditions deteriorated across most of the country’s biggest export destinations- particularly in Asia and Europe. 

Local demand also improved, boosted largely by increased consumer spending during the year-end and Lunar New Year holidays. Imports grew 3.5% year-on-year in Jan-Feb, much more than expectations for an increase of 1.5%, and accelerating sharply from the 0.2% increase seen in December. 

Thursday’s reading signaled some improving economic conditions for the world’s second-largest economy, as it grapples with slowing growth. A property market crisis, slowing business activity and a sustained deflationary trend weighed heavily on the economy over the past year.

But despite some improvement in early-2024, it remains to be seen whether this momentum will sustain later in the year. Beijing recently set a largely underwhelming economic growth forecast for 2024, at 5%- the same as 2023.

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