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