Sign of a turnaround for China's economy as exports soar

Beijing // Chinese Yuan denominated exports swung dramatically upwards to 18.7 per cent in March, official data shows today.

The new number, which works out to 11.4 per cent growth in dollar terms, comes as a surprise after Chinese exports performed miserably at minus 20.7 per cent in February.

“This could be the first sign of a turnaround in the Chinese economy. But we need to be careful before rushing to a judgement,” Bala Ramaswamy, professor of economics at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai told The National.

Huang Songping, a spokesman of China’s general administration of customs, was also cautious, citing poor export data last year as one of the reasons for the spike.

“Exports this March have shown significant growth compared to the low base last year. On the other hand, a favourable policy environment is also the reason for the export improvement,” he said.

China’s imports dipped 1.7 per cent in March despite the advantage of lowered prices of petroleum and minerals. The higher exports resulted in a monthly trade surplus of Us$29.9 billion, data show.

But the overall export performance in the first quarter of 2016 still fell short of the equivalent 2015 figure. Exports slipped 4.2 per cent in the first quarter and imports were down 8.2 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Although detailed data is not yet available, there are signs China’s exports market is shifting. However, Chinese exporters did poorly in the first quarter this year compared with last year in their top two markets, the European Union and the United States.

“There remain obvious obstacles facing China’s foreign trade development,” customs said.


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