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Chinese imports signal economic confidence

Chinese imports signal economic confidence
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China’s imports of key commodities unexpectedly rebounded in March from the month before, due to hopes of a strengthening economy.

Copper imports climbed 7.2 percent, iron ore increased 14.4 percent, and crude oil eked out a 0.2 percent rise.

Analysts said China’s appetite for commodity imports should continue to see a modest recovery through the second quarter.

Overall imports surged 14 percent from a year earlier while exports rose only 10 percent.

“We should see a modest recovery as economic activity picks up. We’ve already begun to see downstream industries start up more perceptibly in late March compared to earlier months,” said Cheng Sijin, a commodities analyst at Barclays Research.

“But reality will struggle to match hyped up expectations of a strong recovery. We expect to see a slow grind up in demand.”

China is the world’s top buyer of copper, soy, iron ore and its second-largest importer of crude oil after the United States. All eyes have been on the pace of its economic recovery, with investors hoping it can offset resurgent worries over Europe’s debt crisis.