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China’s economy shows signs of life

China’s economy showed a few more signs of life in April, with imports jumping more than forecast and exports back in the black for the first time in three months.

Chinese imports from the U.S., European Union, and Russia rose last month, despite a drop in exports to all three, data from China’s Customs Administration showed. Exports grew 1.5% year-on-year in April, in line with forecasts and marking a strong recovery from the surprise 7.5% drop in March, which was the first contraction since November.

Imports for April increased 8.4%, surpassing an expected 4.8% rise and proving much stronger than the surprise 1.9% fall in March. China’s trade surplus grew to $US72.35 billion, compared with a forecast of $US77.50 billion in the poll and $US58.55 billion in March.

For the first four months of the year, the country registered a surplus of $US255.66 billion, with exports advancing 1.5% to $US1.1 trillion while imports rose 3.2% to $US843.91 billion. In the first quarter, both imports and exports rose 1.5% year-on-year. China’s imports from the US climbed 9% in April from a year ago, while exports fell by nearly 3%. The US remains China’s largest trading partner on a single-country basis, while the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is China’s largest trading partner on a regional basis.

China’s exports to ASEAN rose by 8% in April from a year ago, while imports rose 5%. China’s exports to the EU fell by about 3.5%, while imports rose by nearly 2.5%.