China’s exports saw an unexpected increase in March, rising 14.8% from that of 2022 after close to six months of declines.
This surprised economists who had predicted a 7.0% fall.
According to Reuters, officials attributed the rise to increased demand for electric vehicles, solar products, and lithium batteries.
However, analysts caution that the jump may be due to suppliers catching up with unfulfilled orders from previous months due to the Covid pandemics.
“The strong export growth is unlikely to sustain given the weak global macro outlook,” said the chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, Zhiwei Zhang,
Imports, on the other hand, fell less than expected, dropping just 1.4%, with economists attributing the decline to an acceleration in the purchase of agricultural products, particularly soybeans.
While the unexpected rise in exports may seem positive, China’s General Administration of Customs spokesperson, Lv Daliang, warned that “the external environment is still severe and complicated at present” and that “sluggish external demand and geopolitical factors will bring greater challenges to China’s trade development.”
It was also reported that China’s strong export performance is in contrast to other Asian exporters such as South Korea and Vietnam, which have seen their exports decline in the first few months of 2023, raising doubts about whether China’s export growth can be sustained.