Soybean imports in Beijing, China.
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China reported that its dollar-denominated exports and imports both fell from a year ago in March, but they were better than what economists had expected.
China’s exports fell 6.6% in March from a year ago, while imports slipped 0.9% in the same month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports from China to fall 14% in March from a year ago, while imports were projected to fall 9.5% over the same period.
The country’s March trade surplus was $19.9 billion, as compared with the $18.55 billion that economists polled by Reuters had expected.
Earlier this year, China reported combined trade data for the months of January and February.
Over the two months, exports fell 17.2% from a year ago while imports fell 9.5% as the coronavirus outbreak put the brakes on the world’s second largest economy.
While the outbreak appears to have abated in China recently, it remains a serious situation in the rest of the world. Global cases of Covid-19 hovered near 2 million on Tuesday.
In order to contain the coronavirus, many countries have locked down vast populations, disrupting supply chains and straining economies, causing shocks on both the supply and demand fronts.
Li Kuiwen, a spokesman for the General Administration of Customs said there are difficulties in foreign trade, Reuters reported. Shrinking international demand will hit China’s exports, even as recovering domestic demand lends support to China’s economy, Li said.
The public health emergency has wiped out trillions from stock markets and knocked the wind out of many economies. Governments worldwide are announcing stimulus packages to pull their nations through the crisis.
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