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China trade: exports rebound but imports fall more than expected

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 12, 2019 - Duration: 02:00s

China trade: exports rebound but imports fall more than expected

China's exports rebounded in March but imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a sharper pace, painting a mixed picture of the economy as trade talks with the United States reach their endgame.

Pascale Davies reports.

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China trade: exports rebound but imports fall more than expected

Trade talks between the U.S. and China have been progressing but are still inconclusive.

As, say analysts, are aspects of China's latest trade data.

Exports rose 14.2 percent in March compared with last year- the strongest growth in five months.

But that could be because of seasonal factors.

And imports shrank 7.6 percent, according to customs data.

Suggesting its domestic demand remains weak.

Friday's data also leaves China with a trade surplus of close to $33 billion for the month, according to Reuters calculations, which is nearly five times bigger than forecasts.

It comes amid a cloudy economic climate, and as the IMF trimmed its 2019 global growth forecast this week to 3.3 percent (SOUNDBITE) (English) IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHRISTINE LAGARDE, SAYING: "As you heard a couple of days ago, we're now talking about synchronized slowdown by 70 percent of the global economy." The IMF slightly boosted China's forecast to 6.3 percent in part because the Sino-U.S. trade war has not escalated as much as expected.

China has also loosened monetary policy and announced extra spending on infrastructure.

President Donald Trump said an agreement on a new trade deal could happen in four weeks.

But there are remaining issues to resolve, according to both sides.

( SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE COMMERCE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, GAO FENG, SAYING: "China opposes the U.S.'

Generalisation of the concept of 'security', which they use indiscriminately.

China calls up on the U.S. to stick to the principles of mutual benefit and mutual trust and quickly correct their erroneous ways." Economists have warned that even if a deal is reached and US tariffs on its exports are largely withdrawn... China's exporters may still have to face a widespread global slump.

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