Chinese exports surge as global demand recovers from virus
BEIJING (AP) — China’s exports surged 60.6% over a year earlier in the first two months of 2021, after factories reopened and global demand started to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Exports rose to $468.9 billion, customs data showed Sunday, accelerating from December’s 18.1% gain and nearly double the growth expected by forecasters. Imports jumped 22.2% to $365.6 billion, up from December’s 6.5% increase.
Chinese authorities combine trade data for the first two months to compensate for fluctuations due to the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at different times each year in January or February. Factories shut down for up to two weeks, then restock after they reopen.
Exporters benefited from the relatively early reopening of China’s economy after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the disease last March while foreign competitors still face anti-virus controls.
Forecasters say the Chinese export surge should decelerate as demand for masks and other medical supplies eases and overseas competitors return to global markets. Trade officials have warned that the global situation still is “grave and complex.”
Exports to the United States soared 87.3% over last year to $80.5 billion in January and February despite former President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes imposed in a fight over trade, technology and security. They have been left in place by his successor, Joe Biden, who took office in January.
Economists and political analysts expect few changes under Biden due to widespread frustration in Washington with China’s trade and human rights records and complaints about technology theft and spying.
On Friday, China's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, announced plans to accelerate technology development and reduce reliance on...