Beijing, China (4E) – China posted a surprising trade deficit in February of $22.98bn, according to government data released Saturday.
The shortfall comes following a surplus of $14.8bn in the year-earlier period, and a median forecast of the 13 economists surveyed by the Dow Jones Newswires who called for a surplus of $11.9bn.
Exports declined 18.1 percent to $114.10bn in February, while imports advanced 10.1 percent to $137.08bn, according to the General Administration of Customs. The month included most of the Lunar New Year holiday.
The Spring Festival resulted to a sharp fluctuation in the monthly growth rate and the monthly deficit, according to the statement by Customs. It also said that Chinese traders followed their habit of putting exports forward ahead of the holiday, and placing imports immediately afterwards.
For January and February this year, exports from the world’s second-largest economy fell 1.6 percent to $321.23bn from the same period last year, and imports climbed 10 percent to $312.34bn.
Saturday’s report also showed that the trade surplus in January and February fell by 79.1 percent to $8.89bn from the previous year.