BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports growth unexpectedly fell in March, the first drop since February last year, raising questions about the health of one of the economy’s key growth drivers even as trade tensions rapidly escalate with the United States. March import growth beat expectations, however, suggesting its domestic demand may still be solid enough to cushion the blow from any trade shocks. That left China with a rare trade deficit for the month, also the first drop since last February. The latest readings on the health of China’s trade sector follow weeks of tit-for-tat tariff threats by Washington and Beijing, sparked by U.S. frustration with China’s massive bilateral trade surplus and intellectual property policies, that have fuelled fears of a global trade war. China’s March exports fell 2.7 percent from a year earlier, lagging analysts’ forecasts for a 10.0 percent increase, and down from a sharper-than-expected 44.5 percent jump in February, which economists believe was heavily distorted by seasonal factors. For the first quarter as a whole, exports still grew a hefty 14.1 percent. Some analysts had expected a pullback in March exports following an unusually strong start to the year, when firms stepped up shipments before the long… Read full this story
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