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BEIJING: China’s exports and imports shot up in May year-on-year, the customs agency said Sunday, defying expectations amid a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.
Exports rose 15.3 percent to $181.1 billion and imports increased a healthy 12.7 percent to $162.4 billion, the agency said, slightly widening the trade surplus for the third consecutive month to $18.7 billion.
The figures — which defied analyst expectations — come a day after China posted dismal economic numbers for May, further confirming a slowdown in the Asian powerhouse.
China has been easing monetary policy for some time in an effort to stimulate growth and on Friday the central bank cut interest rates for the first time in more than three years.
The strong trade figures come despite a contraction in Chinese manufacturing in May for the seventh consecutive month, according to banking giant HSBC.
Analysts say the robust rises are no cause for celebration, as they could be due to temporary factors such as extra working days compared with the previous year and inventory that needed to be cleared.
“They were higher than our estimates by far,” said Ken Peng, a Beijing-based economist at BNP Paribas, but he cautioned the figures were no cause for excitement.
“We’re in a period where external demand is not improving, the RMB (yuan) has increased sharply versus most of its competitors, and especially versus the euro,” he told AFP.
“So there’s no reason (the rise in) exports should be seen as a sustainable improvement at this point.” -- AFP