Exports jump 45.7%, imports up 44.7% in February

14:06, March 10, 2010      

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Beijing said Wednesday that its exports soared by 45.7 percent, the fastest pace in three years, a figure that could help persuade the policy-makers to let its currency, the yuan, to rise in value.

China's global trade surplus was $7.6 billion in February and the combined January-February surplus was $21.8 billion.

Underlining China's position as the world's leading exporter, shipments to other's shores hit 94.5 billion dollars, continuing a 3-month streak of export gains, its customs agency said.

Imports also surged 44.7 percent, the agency said, reflecting growing home consumption in China as the world's largest developing economy emerges from the global economic crisis. Economic growth accelerated to 10.7 percent in the final quarter of 2009 on the strength of massive stimulus spending and bank loans.

Combining data from January and February shows exports surged 31.4 percent during the period from a year earlier, the customs agency said.

"China's trade is extending its recovery," said Zhu Jian-fang, an economist for Citic Securities in Beijing. "Exporters are getting more orders these days."

China's export data is being closely watched for clues to the state of the world's third-largest economy and for signs of recovery in crisis-hit markets such as the United States and Europe.

Analysts said the export figures reflected improving demand for Chinese-made products, even though it was inflated by the low base of comparison in February 2009 when shipments plunged 25.7 percent due to the crisis.

"It's obviously impacted by the low base effect but there were five fewer days in February this year than last year which makes this number pretty impressive," Royal Bank of Canada senior strategist Brian Jackson told AFP.

The nation's trade surplus reached 7.61 billion dollars in February, the figures showed, up 57.2 percent compared with the same month last year.

Zhu,of the Citic Securities, said the rosy export data increase chances the government might allow the yuan to rise in value. Beijing has held the yuan steady against the dollar for 18 months to help stave off the impact of the global crisis and prevent exports from precipitously crashing.

China's trade surplus with the United States in the January-February period shrank by 27 percent to $20.9 billion. The gap with the 27-nation European Union, China's biggest trading partner, extended by 34 percent to $22.3 billion.

However, China' s commerce minister, Chen Deming, cautioned Saturday that despite stronger recent trade, it will be two to three years before China's exports return to pre-crisis levels.

People's Daily Online

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