China’s foreign trade dropped in March as the economy reeled from the coronavirus outbreak, though the data improved over the first two months of the year.
Exports fell by 6.6 per cent in dollar amounts compared with March 2019, while imports dropped 0.9 per cent, the customs administration said Tuesday.
Both imports and exports performed better than analysts had expected.
In January and February combined, exports had fallen 17.2 per cent, while imports had plunged 4 per cent in the same period, according to official data.
The March trade numbers indicate that the supply chains have partially adapted to the disruptions caused by the global coronavirus outbreak.
China said factories had resumed operations to a proportion of almost 99 per cent by late March, and almost 90 per cent of employees had returned to work.
“Overall, you can see on the manufacturing side it has been recovering quite well, surprisingly well,” Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said during an online press conference on Monday.
Nevertheless, China’s economy is bracing for a second wave of disruption as consumer markets in Europe and the U.S. are being increasingly hurt by the virus outbreak.
China on Friday is set to release economic growth data for the first quarter of the year.
Analysts expect a contraction, which would be the first such downturn since the end of the Cultural Revolution, in 1976. (dpa/NAN)