JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – China‘ merchandise exports contracted 2.7 percent in in April in terms of USD, down from a revised 13.8 percent expansion in March, according to the General Administration of Customs.

The decline in exports led by the weakening demand from the United States (US), the agency said. Exports to the Japan, European Union and Southeast Asian region softened as well.

But, China‘ merchandise imports expanded 4.0 percent, up from 7.9 percent in March, recording a six-month high. Imports of crude oil, natural gas and soybean also accelerated. Crude steel imports in April declined to the lowest since October 2017, partially reflecting China’ easing capacity-cut campaign.

Overall trade surplus declined by $18.6 billion from the previous month, owing to the weakening exports. However, the up-to-date trade surplus remained 26 percent above the level reported the same period last year. China’ trade surplus against the US continued to expand to $83 billion through April.

The Customs authority also mentioned that foreign trade from private firms rose faster compared to state companies, which contributed 41 percent to the total foreign trade in the first four months, up 2.5 percentage points from the same period last year.

Commenting on the resulted, Yating Xu, senior economist at IHS Markit maintains its expectation of China’ weaker export growth this year on vulnerable global economic growth. The annual China Import and Export Fair held in Guangdong in April reported that the value of contracts from the event declined 1.1 pecent compared to last year, suggesting slowing momentum in foreign trade.

Rebound in imports, he rated, is expected and likely to continue in the coming months due to the government’s on-going stimulus policy to stabilize economic growth. The central bank cut the reserve requirement ratio to inject liquidity to small firms on May 6.

by Linda Silaen, Email: linda.silaen@gmail.com