Exports surge lifts surplus
Monday, March 09, 2015
China's exports jumped 48.3 percent in February from a year ago the strongest in nearly five years that comfortably beat expectations while imports slipped 20.5 percent.
The General Administration of Customs said yesterday that produced a record trade surplus of US$60.6 billion (HK$472.68 billion).That compared with expectations in a poll of a rise of 14.2 percent in exports following a 3.3 percent drop in January and a 10 percent fall in imports and a trade surplus of US$10.8 billion.Analysts tend to look at the combined trade data for the two months to help smooth out distortions caused by the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in mid-February this year but in early February last year.The customs office said exporters usually make concentrated shipments ahead of the new year, which may have distorted export figures for January and February.For the first two months of 2015, exports rose 15 percent from a year ago, while imports fell 20.2 percent.Exports rose 6.1 percent for the whole of last year, while imports inched up 0.4 percent.Imports have been weaker than exports, highlighting the need to spur domestic demand amid fears of deflation, as some short-term investors are pulling out of the country indicated by sustained capital outflows in recent months.Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said he expects exports and imports to return to growth this month and is confident of meeting an annual trade growth target of 6.1 percent in 2015.Analysts expect Beijing to roll out more stimulus steps this year to support the slowing economy, which has been hurt by a property downturn, excess factory capacity and erratic exports.Despite the solid trade surplus, a string of weak data has put some pressure on the yuan. But analysts say its modest 1 percent fall versus the US dollar this year may not help exporters much, given it has risen against other currencies.Indeed, a private manufacturing poll showed export orders fell in February.The government has set a growth target of around 7 percent for this year, below the 7.5 percent goal that was narrowly missed in 2014, but analysts believe more policy support is needed to arrest the slowdown.REUTERS