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CHINESE trade data for February shows a surprising surge in China's exports and a positive outlook for the year, despite worries of American protectionism.

Export growth accelerated to 44.5 per cent year on year from 11.1 per cent in January, exceeding market expectations, reports Bloomberg.

Import growth softened to 6.3 per cent from 37 per cent last month, in line with predictions.

Taking January and February together, export growth accelerated to 24.4 per cent from 9.7 per cent in the fourth quarter and import growth rose to 21.7 per cent from 12.5 per cent over the same period.

The leap in exports came mainly from shipping to the US, EU and Japan, with the growth rate increasing from nine per cent in January to 42 per cent in February, and to other emerging markets (Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa), which saw the biggest jump to 76 per cent from 12 per cent.

Exports to Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan slowed to 11 per cent from 17 per cent. By product type, much of the growth came from labour-intensive consumer goods, such as toys, footwear and furniture, suggesting solid global consumer confidence.

The slowing of imports was expected by market analysts due to the historical distorting effect of Chinese New Year, which lands at varying times in January and February.

Thus, imports slowed across the board, even producing a contraction of four per cent from US, EU and Japan.

Nomura view the robust January-February trade data as promising for the yuan by signalling a positive global growth outlook in 2018, "especially if the Chinese authorities manage to engineer a gradual and controlled deleveraging process to stabilise the economy."

  • 2018-03-21

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