China: Trade surplus soars as exports expand at double-digit rate in February
March 8, 2015
In February, exports jumped 48.3% over the same month last year, which largely contrasted the 3.3% drop tallied in January. The print exceeded the 14.0% increase that market analysts had expected and represented the fastest growth since May 2010. Imports plummeted 20.5% annually in February, which was below the 19.9% decline tallied in January. The print exceeded the 10.0% drop that market analysts had expected and represented the steepest decline since May 2009.
As a result of the underperformance in imports and the astonishing expansion in exports, the trade balance swung to a USD 60.6 billion surplus in February (January: USD 60.0 billion surplus) from the USD 22.5 billion deficit recorded in the same month last year. The print overshot the USD 6.0 billion surplus that market analysts had expected and represented the largest surplus on record. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus jumped from USD 409 billion in January to USD 492 billion in February, which represented the highest print on record.
Although February’s print mostly reflected the timing of the Lunar New Year, the disappointing import drop was mainly driven by falling commodity prices and faltering domestic demand. On the other hand, February’s stellar export growth suggests that the global economy is slowly recovering.