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China March exports up 14.2 percent year-on-year, imports fall 7.6 percent

China March exports up 14.2 percent year-on-year, imports fall 7.6 percent
FILE PHOTO: Containers and cargo vessels are seen at sunset at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer   -   Copyright  CHINA STRINGER NETWORK(Reuters)
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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s March exports rose 14.2 percent from a year earlier, better than analysts’ expectations, while imports dropped 7.6 percent, a sharper decline than forecast, official data showed on Friday.

That left the country with a trade surplus of $32.64 billion for the month, according to Reuters calculations based on the data from the General Administration of Customs.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected March shipments from the world’s largest exporter to have increased 7.3 percent from a year earlier, after a sharp drop of 20.8 percent in February.

Imports were expected to have dropped 1.3 percent, narrowing from 5.2 percent fall in the preceding month. The trade surplus had been tipped at $7.05 billion last month from February’s $4.08 billion.

Analysts caution that Chinese data is often highly volatile early in the year, due to massive business disruptions caused by the long Lunar New Year holidays, which began in early February this year.

China’s economy is expected to slow to 6.2 percent this year, the weakest in nearly 30 years, according to a Reuters poll, as sluggish demand at home and abroad weighs on activity despite a flurry of policy support measures.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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