China's export-driven economy continued to gather pace in February, with exports adding another $4.62 billion to its global trade surplus, statistics showed Thursday. Asia's second largest economy saw exports jump 30.8% year-on-year to $44.53 billion, while imports fell 5.0% to $39.92 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said.
Analysts said that given the traditional dampening effect of the Lunar New Year in February, export growth was extremely strong. In the first two months of the year, exports increased 36.6% to $95.28 billion while imports were up 8.3% to $84.18 billion.
At the same time, the much weaker-than-expected imports could point to a slowing of domestic demand and fixed asset investment, Goldman Sachs economist Hong Liang said. "In our view, this development will continue to put upward pressure on the currency, without contributing much to the rebalancing of growth away from exports to domestic demand," Hong said.
China has come under increasing international pressure over its pegged exchange rate system to the U.S. dollar, which trading partners vociferously complain makes mainland exports unfairly cheap. With the currency trading in a very narrow band at around 8.28 yuan to the dollar and the economy zooming ahead at 9.5% growth last year, China's trade surplus hit $32 billion last year, the highest level in six years. The trade surplus in January this year alone totaled $6.48 billion.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005