A Chinese flag flies on a vessel moving past shipping containers being unloaded at a Tianjin Port Group Co. dock in Tianjin, China.
Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images
China on Tuesday reported March exports data that missed analyst forecasts while imports for the month rose more than expected.
Chinese exports last month jumped 30.6% from a year ago in U.S. dollar terms, lagging the 35.5% increase that analysts polled by Reuters had expected. Meanwhile, the country’s imports in U.S. dollar terms rose 38.1% in March from a year ago, exceeding the 23.3% increase those analysts had forecast.
The stronger-than-expected rise in imports led China’s trade surplus to shrink to $13.8 billion in March, much narrower than the Reuters poll’s forecast of $52.05 billion.
Paras Anand, Asia-Pacific chief investment officer at Fidelity International, said the latest data showed that China’s economic recovery is entering “a different phase.”
He told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” following the data release that over the last few months, China’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic had concentrated on output as seen in strong exports numbers. But demand appears to be picking up now, he added.
“As we’re now moving into the recovery in China getting to a more mature level, we’re starting to see consumption also picking up very strongly,” said Anand.
China was the first country to report cases of the coronavirus in late 2019. Official data showed the economy hitting its trough in the first quarter of 2020 when the number of infections peaked.
The country appeared to have largely contained the outbreak, and became the only major economy to register growth last year when it expanded by 2.3%. China has set a growth target of more than 6% for 2021, while the International Monetary Fund expects the Asian giant to expand by 8.4% this year.