Chinese exports tumbled 6.6% on year in March, which represented an improvement from an 18.1% plunge in February, although consensus was for growth of 4%.
Imports slumped 11.3% after climbing 10.1% and missed expectations of +2.4%, with the decline partly due to falling commodity prices.
The trade balance swung to a surplus of $7.71B from a deficit of $22.98B and easily topped forecasts for a surplus of $900M.
Economist Hu Yifan says that "investors don't have to be worried" about the trade numbers, as the declines were partly due to artificially high export data a year earlier and the severe winter in the U.S.
Still, the figures follow other numbers which show that the economy is slowing, although Premier Li Keqiang ruled out more stimulus to add to measures that were announced recently. China "won’t adopt short-term and strong stimulus policies in response to temporary fluctuations in the economy," Li said. "Instead, we will focus more on healthy growth in the medium-to-long term and will make efforts to achieve sustainable and healthy development."
The Shanghai Composite +0.2% and the Hang Seng is +0.65%, aided by the dovish FOMC minutes yesterday.
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