China’s deficit signals recovery with doubts

China’s deficit signals recovery with doubts

BEIJING - The Associated Press
China’s deficit signals recovery with doubts

China’s trade deficit can be seen as a sign of rising domestic consumption but analysts warn that the data might give a distorted economic picture. AFP photo

China’s trade expanded in March in a possible positive sign for its recovery but analysts said the data might be inflated and give a distorted picture of the economy’s health.

March exports rose to $182.2 billion while imports were $183.1 billion, leaving a rare monthly deficit of $900 million, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Imports rose 14.1 percent after growing 5 percent rate for the combined January-February period, customs data showed yesterday, suggesting Chinese manufacturers and consumers might be buying more.

Export growth slowed to 10 percent from the previous two-month period’s 23.6 percent. That could add to challenges for newly installed Communist Party leaders as they try to sustain the rebound from China’s deepest downturn since the 2008 global crisis avoid job losses.

Analysts said, though, the data might be distorted by companies misreporting trade or government manipulation, clouding the picture of whether an economic recovery is gaining traction.

“The figures in Hong Kong to and from China do not add up,” said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings, a Hong Kong-based investment company. “Instead of 10 percent growth, you have 2 or 3 percent.”