China’s exports rise in first two months of 2017


BEIJING — China’s imports and exports grew in the first two months of this year after weakening toward the end of 2016.

Exports rose 4 percent from a year earlier in January and February to US$302.8 billion, rebounding from a 6.1 percent contraction in December, customs data showed Wednesday. Imports rose 26.4 percent to US$260.6 billion, accelerating from December’s 3.1 percent growth.

Analysts often look at January and February together to screen out the impact of the two-week Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on a different date each year.

“The latest trade data suggest that, seasonal distortions aside, both exports and imports strengthened at the start of 2017,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report.

Last year, exports shrank by 7.7 percent. Weak global demand is a drag on Beijing’s efforts to nurture self-sustaining economic growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment. Those plans call for keeping exports steady to avoid job losses in industries that employ millions of people.

“We expect external demand to remain fairly strong during the coming quarters,” said Evans-Pritchard.