China's export growth unexpectedly speeds up in April

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai, China October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports growth unexpectedly picked up in April, official data showed on Friday, as the world’s second-largest economy extended its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exports in dollar terms surged 32.3% from a year earlier to $263.92 billion, according to China’s General Administration of Customs, beating analysts’ forecast of 24.1% and the 30.6% growth reported in March.

Imports rose 43.1% from a year earlier, the fastest gain since January 2011 and picking up from the 38.1% growth in March. It was also slightly faster than the 42.5% rise tipped by the Reuters poll.

China ran a trade surplus of $42.85 billion for the month, customs said, wider than a $28.1 billion surplus tipped in the Reuters poll.

The data comes amid warnings from some analysts that China’s gross domestic product growth could slow from the record 18.3% expansion in the January-March quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt global logistics chains, slowing movement of goods and driving up shipment costs.

A persistent shortage of semiconductors needed for a wide range of products including consumer electronics and cars is also starting to hurt manufacturers, weighing on production.

China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index last week showed factory activity growth slowed in April from a month earlier, partly due to a softening in overseas demand.

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