China's April trade surplus stands at 11.43 bln U.S. dollars

China's trade surplus rose to 11.43 billion U.S. dollars in April this year, according to figures released Tuesday by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

The country reported a small trade surplus of 140 million dollars in March, on the basis of a deficit of 7.3 billion U.S. dollars in February -- the country's first since March 2010.

The GAC said the total value of imports and exports increased 25.9 percent year on year to 299.95 billion dollars in April, with exports up 29.9 percent to a record high of 155.69 billion U.S. dollars and imports up 21.8 percent to 144.26 billion U.S. dollars.

"The slower growth in imports and fast increase in exports resulted in the rebound," said Zhang Yansheng, director of the National Development and Reform Commission's Research Institute of Foreign Economic Relations.

Exports of mechanical and electrical equipment rose 22.9 percent to 319.76 billion U.S. dollars during the first four months, accounting for 57.6 percent of the country's total exports.

"The improving infrastructure, supportive services and higher efficiency of the service industry constitute China's new competitive edge in exports," said Long Guoqiang, deputy director of the Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations of the Development Research Center of the State Council.

The GAC said trade with the European Union, China's largest trade partner, jumped 23.5 percent year on year to 170 billion dollars in April.

Trade with the United States climbed 24.8 percent to 133.71 billion dollars during the period while that with Japan rose 22.9 percent to 108.86 billion dollars.

Zhang attributed the slower growth in imports to rising commodity prices which dampened importers' confidence in building up inventories.

The country's imports of iron ores dropped 15 percent to 52.88 million tonnes in April from March.

"The sharp increase in the April trade surplus proves that the first quarter deficit was temporary," said Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) economist Liu Ligang.

China saw a trade deficit of 1.02 billion U.S. dollars from January to March this year, the first quarterly trade deficit in six years. The GAC has attributed the deficit to soaring commodity prices and seasonal factors.

Still, the country faces uncertainties in foreign trade, including the sovereign-debt crisis in Europe, bloated U.S. budget deficit and recovery pressures caused by the Japan tsunami, said analysts.

Zhang said the trend of balancing China's foreign trade would not change, adding that the proportion of trade surplus in the country's GDP will gradually decrease.

"The global market continues to recover with demand growing strongly. China's exports may increase by 15 to 20 percent for the whole year with the trade surplus shrinking from a year earlier," said Long.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 10May11]

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