China's export growth unexpectedly speeds up in April

BEIJING (REUTERS) – China’s exports growth unexpectedly picked up in April, official data showed on Friday (May 7), as the world’s second-largest economy extended its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exports in US dollar terms surged 32.3 per cent from a year earlier to US$263.9 billion (S$351.9 billion), according to China’s General Administration of Customs, beating analysts’ forecast of 24.1 per cent and the 30.6 per cent growth reported in March.

Imports rose 43.1 per cent from a year earlier, the fastest gain since January 2011 and picking up from the 38.1 per cent growth in March. It was also slightly faster than the 42.5 per cent rise tipped by the Reuters poll.

China ran a trade surplus of US$42.85 billion for the month, customs said, wider than a US$28.1 billion surplus tipped in the Reuters poll.

The data comes amid warnings from some analysts that China’s gross domestic product growth could slow from the record 18.3 per cent expansion in the January-March quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt global logistics chains, slowing movement of goods and driving up shipment costs.

A persistent shortage of semiconductors needed for a wide range of products including consumer electronics and cars is also starting to hurt manufacturers, weighing on production.

China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index last week showed factory activity growth slowed in April from a month earlier, partly due to a softening in overseas demand.

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