China: Exports and imports tumble in March
April 10, 2014
In March, exports fell 6.6% over the same month last year. The decline contrasted market expectations of a 4.8% increase and followed the sharp 18.1% drop recorded in February, which had represented the lowest rate since August 2009. The unexpected decline in March mainly resulted from exporters overstating trade invoicing early last year. Imports plunged 11.3% annually in March, which contrasted the 10.1% increase recorded in February and represented the largest drop since February 2013. The expansion also contrasted the 3.9% increase that market analysts had expected. The trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 7.7 billion in March, which contrasted the USD 963 million deficit recorded in the same month last year and exceeded market expectations of a USD 1.8 billion surplus. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus rose from USD 226 billion in February to USD 234 billion in March. The government set a target growth for the total volume of exports and imports of 7.5% for this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will grow 8.4% in 2014 (USD 2.4 trillion), and see the trade surplus reaching USD 270 billion. For 2015, the panel expects exports to increase 8.6% and the trade surplus to widen to USD 278 billion.