China’s exports surged in March as the world’s second-largest economy continued to rebound from Beijing’s harsh “zero-COVID” pandemic policies.
Total exports soared 14.8 percent year on year, customs data showed on Thursday, the first rise in six months and a sharp rise from March last year, when lockdowns crippled the economy. Imports fell a smaller-than-expected 1.4 percent.
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The trade figures soundly beat the expectations of economists, many of whom had predicted further declines in exports. Analysts polled by the Reuters news agency had expected exports to fall 7 percent, after falling 6.8 percent in the January-February period.
China abruptly ditched some of the world’s strictest COVID curbs in December, unleashing a wave of cases that prevented many businesses from operating normally.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang, who took office last month, told a cabinet meeting last week that officials should “try every method” to grow trade with developed economies and push companies to explore emerging market economies, such as those in Southeast Asia.
China has set a growth target of about 5 percent for gross domestic product (GDP) this year, after growth of just 3 percent in 2022, one of the lowest rates in decades.