China’s combined import and export value fell 11.5 percent to 2.03 trillion yuan (US$327.47 billion) in March from the same period last year, the General Administration of Customs said on its website Thursday.
Exports were down 9.2 percent and imports came in 13.8 percent lower, it said.
The trade surplus was 46.86 billion yuan compared with a deficit of 6.71 billion yuan a year earlier.
For the first quarter, total trade value was 5.9 trillion yuan, down 3.7 percent from a year earlier. Exports fell 6.1 percent while imports dropped 1.2 percent, resulting in a surplus of 102.83 billion yuan, down 60.9 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The value of trade between China and Europe climbed 6.3 percent to 835.73 billion yuan in the first quarter from a year earlier while that with the United States was up 0.9 percent to 749.22 billion yuan, accounting for 14.2 percent and 12.7 percent of the total value, respectively.
However, trade value with Hong Kong plummeted 33.3 percent to 460.32 billion yuan.
Customs spokesman Zheng Yuesheng said the steep fall in exports suggests some difficulty in foreign trade but does not mean it has been declining.
He expects China’s foreign trade to pick up toward the end of the year on a recovering world economy and deepening domestic reform.
– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]