China exports rise for first time in 6 months: Customs data

China’s exports rose in March for the first time in six months, customs data showed Thursday, as the world’s second-largest economy continued its economic recovery following the end of onerous coronavirus curbs late last year.

Total exports soared 14.8 percent year-on-year, the data showed, a sharp rise from last March when strict virus lockdowns crippled normal economic activity.

The first jump since September upended the expectations of analysts, many of whom predicted a further decline, according to Bloomberg News.

“The positive surprise may be partly due to a low base effect — the Covid outbreaks in March last year forced many factories to shut down,” said Zhiwei Zhang, of Pinpoint Asset Management.

The strong growth may also be a result of “inventory and order cycles for exporters,” Zhang added.

China abruptly ditched some of the world’s strictest Covid curbs in December, unleashing a wave of cases that prevented many businesses from operating normally.

The outbreak “likely depleted factories’ inventories,” Zhang said, but added that “factories are (now) running at full capacity (and have) caught up the cumulated orders from the past.”

Imports contracted 1.4 percent, the data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

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