China’s exports rebound unexpectedly to growth in March

BEIJING (AP) — China’s exports rebounded unexpectedly to growth in March despite a decline in U.S. and European demand following interest rate hikes to cool inflation.

Exports rose 14.8% over a year earlier to $315.6 billion, recovering from a 6.8% contraction in January and February, customs data showed Thursday. Imports sank 1.4% to $227.4 billion, but the decline was smaller than the 10.2% slide in the previous two months.

China’s politically sensitive global trade surplus widened by 82% over a year earlier to $88.2 billion.

Exports to the United States and the 27-nation European Union, China’s biggest export markets, declined.

For the first three months of the year, exports edged up 0.5% over the same period of 2022 to $821.8 billion, the General Administration of Customs of China reported. Total imports contracted 7.1% to $617.1 billion.

Trade weakness adds to complications for President Xi Jinping’s government, which is trying to revive economic growth that sank last year to 3%, the second-weakest rate since the 1970s. The ruling Communist Party set this year’s growth target at “around 5%.”

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