China March exports slump slows to 6.6% year-on-year, imports down 0.9%

The global coronavirus health crisis looks set to keep trade under pressure over coming months

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China's exports fell 6.6% in March from a year earlier, while imports shrank 0.9%, a better than expected outcome as factories restarted production, though the global coronavirus health crisis looks set to keep trade under pressure over coming months.

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Customs data released on Tuesday compared with analysts' forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 14% slump in exports. Shipments had dived 17.2% in January-February.

Analysts had forecast a 9.5% contraction in imports, worsening from a slide of 4% in the first two months of the year.

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China posted a trade surplus of $19.9 billion last month, compared with the poll's forecast for an $18.55 billion surplus, and a reversal of January-February's deficit of $7.096 billion.

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(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)