By Dow Jones Business News, March 07, 2013, 11:04:00 PM EDT
--China trade surplus drops to $15.25 billion in February from $29.15 billion in January
--Economists say rising exports suggest a possible growth trend
(Recasts first paragraph; adds economist quote and background from fourth paragraph onward)
By Aaron Back
BEIJING: China's trade surplus narrowed in February, but exports performed far better than expected--a positive signal
for both China and the world economy.
However, economists say that Chinese economic data in January and February is usually volatile due to the Lunar New
Year holiday, and often warn against reading too much into strong trade figures for these months.
China's February trade surplus declined to $15.25 billion from $29.15 billion in January, according to figures
released Friday, but economists polled earlier had expected a $16.0 billion deficit. Though China has a large trade
surplus with the outside world, it is common for the country to run deficits in the early part of the year, partly
because factories close and workers return home for the Lunar New Year.
"The underlying trend suggests that export growth was strong in the first two months of 2013, extending the pickup of
end-2012," Louis Kuijs, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said in a note. The data is also a positive sign for the
global economy, as it shows that demand for Chinese goods around the world is rebounding, he added.
Chinese exports rose 21.8% in February from the same month a year earlier, data from the General Administration of
Customs showed Friday. This was lower than January's 25.0% rise, but much higher than economists' median forecast for a
Imports fell 15.2%, compared with a 28.8% rise in January and against economists' median forecast of a 10.0% decline.
In February last year, China posted a $31.48 billion trade deficit.
Write to Aaron Back at firstname.lastname@example.org
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