China reported an unexpected trade surplus of $5.35 billion in March, after experts believed that negative numbers from February would continue. The U.S. was a big contributor to that return to the positive, with a 10.4% increase year-over-year in purchases that helped return trade to the plus side of the ledger.
Reuters reported that customs data released Tuesday showed that imports were below expectations, growing at 5.3% year on year, but overseas orders boosted China’s economy despite weak domestic demand.
“The key point is that the export growth was up from 6.8% year-on-year in the January-February period,” Dariusz Kowalczyk, an economist with Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, said in the Reuters report. “Acceleration in exports may well be slower in volume terms, but the data still highlights the fact that China can continue to count on foreign demand to partly mitigate for weakening domestic demand.”