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Friday, May 09, 2008

China Exports April 2008

China's export growth slowed in April and the trade surplus was little changed as economies around the world weakened. Exports rose about 21.8 percent from April 2007, following a 30.6 percent gain in March, according to figures derived from Ministry of Commerce data. The trade surplus was about $16.8 billion compared with $16.7 billion a year earlier.

Central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on May 4 that weaker export growth has been a factor in the yuan's failure to appreciate versus the dollar after a 4.2 percent jump in the first quarter. Smaller gains in shipments reduce the risk that inflows of cash from overseas sales will fuel 11-year high inflation and overheat the world's fastest-growing major economy.

The gain in overseas shipments compares with the 21.4 percent pace in the first quarter and the 26 percent increase for all of last year. Imports grew about 26.1 percent in April from a year earlier after gaining 24.6 in March. The increase partly reflects rising commodity prices.

The world's fourth-biggest economy expanded 10.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier and inflation accelerated to 8 percent, the fastest pace since 1996. The yuan had its biggest gain since a fixed-exchange rate ended in 2005.

China's currency has climbed 18 percent versus the dollar since the peg to the U.S. currency was scrapped, making the nation's products more expensive in overseas markets and cutting import costs. Since April, it has gained only 0.3 percent.

Inflation, driven by food and wage costs, climbed to an 11-year high of 8.7 percent in February, more than the central bank's target for the year of 4.8 percent. Producer prices rose 8.1 percent in April, the fastest pace in more than three years, the statistics bureau said today.

The Ministry of Commerce released data for shipments of mechanical and electrical products for the first four months on a ministry Web site today. It gave the value of exports of those products, $251.3 billion, and said they represented 59.2 percent of total exports. It also gave the value for imports, $173.3 billion, said they were 47.3 percent of total imports.

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