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China posts unexpected trade surplus in March

The March surplus data sharply contrasts with a February trade deficit of over $31 billion for Chinese exports - a shortfall likely caused by Chinese New Year holidays.

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(Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)

According to new data, China posted an unexpected $5.35 billion trade surplus in March, a sign that Chinese exports are up despite slow demand during the financial crisis.

Exports rose 8.9 percent from a year earlier to $165.6 billion, said the Associated Press, with imports growing over 5 percent to $160 billion.

The March surplus data contrasts with a February trade deficit of over $31 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Yet, the deficit was likely caused by national holidays for Chinese New Year during that month.

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Despite the surplus this month, the numbers are a far cry from earlier years.

According to the Financial Times, China’s export performance in March was notably weaker than it was that month last year when exports grew over 20 percent throughout the year.

Indeed, for the first quarter, China ran a surplus of only $670 million, a small figure compared to previous years.

Renewed Chinese surpluses are likely to stir calls in the United States for a depreciation of the renminbi, which many analysts believe is a factor responsible for the massive trade deficit the US runs with China, said the New York Times.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120410/china-posts-unexpected-trade-surplus