China’s strong 2024 start halts

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

China's strong start to 2024 came to a rapid halt in March, judging by this week’s inflation and trade data.

Consumer price inflation edged closer to a return to deflation, and producer price deflation surprised, being worse than forecast on Thursday. On Friday, the country’s trade performance last month came in much weaker than forecast.

In fact, Chinese exports and imports slid in March, marking the worst monthly trade performance in 8 months.

Exports fell 7.5% (to $US279.68 billion), reversing January and February’s 7.1% rise, while imports dropped 1.9% (to $US221.15 billion) from January February’s 3.5% rise.

Market forecasts called for a 3% dip in exports and a small, 1.2% rise in imports, so the actual outcome was a lot weaker than expected.

(Remember, January and February data was combined because of the varying impact of the timing of the Lunar New Year festival, which this year fell in mid-February).

The slide in exports saw the trade surplus reported as $US58.5 billion – the January and February figure was a combined $US125.1 billion. March’s figure was down from $US78.43 billion in the same month of 2023 and well under market forecasts of $US70.2 billion.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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