China April exports, imports rise less than expected

Both exports and imports fall short of forecasts as surplus widens

Exports of electronics and machinery products increased 2 percent year-on-year in April, customs data showed, slowing from 12.3 percent growth in March. They grew 16.4 percent in March.

The total volume of the bilateral trade in April amounted to $6.59 billion against $5.59 billion year-on-year, an increase of 15 percent. Economists had forecast the surplus to increase to USD35.2 billion from USD23.9 billion in March.

The trade surplus rose to $38 billion from $23.9 billion in March, according to customs figures.

The economy added an estimated 211,000 net new positions in April wle the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent, the lowest since May 2007, the Labor Department reported.

That leaves a trade surplus of 262.3 billion yuan, up 0.6 percent year on year.

Even at a reduced pace, however, exports are expected to contribute to growth in the world's second-largest economy this year as demand for technology products expands in the US and Europe. "In particular, policy tightening will further weigh on domestic demand in coming quarters, with the impact on import values amplified by declines in commodity prices", he said in a note to clients.

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Imports have accelerated this year as China's state energy giants pump less crude after last year's price crash forced them to cut spending on the country's mature, high-cost fields.

Shipments to the United States climbed 11.7 per cent, easing from the 19.7 per cent gain the prior month, while exports to the European Union increased 4 per cent.

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"The moderate decline in exports was partly a result of corrections in the USA economy", said Deng Haiqing, chief economist with JZ Securities, "As the corrections are seasonal, we expect exports to pick up in the long term".

Looking ahead, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, expects export growth to hold up well given the relatively bright outlook for the global economy this year.

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