The data is here (it came out 18 minutes after it was expected to come out)

Via the Wall Street Journal:

  • The data released Thursday by China’s General Administration of Customs ran contrary to the expectations for a drop compared with a year ago. The figures look even better because last year’s results were inflated by overinvoicing by exporters who were trying to circumvent China’s strict currency controls. Overinvoicing is a tactic used to inflate the value of exports.

Economist Julian Evans-Pritchard with Capital Economics:

  • “Exports are better than the headline numbers suggest”
  • April shipments were up 4.1% year-over-year to the U.S., up 7.8% to the European Union and up 5.9% to Southeast Asia.
  • They fell 9.7% to Taiwan and 31.3% to Hong Kong, where much of the overinvoicing activity took place.

China Exports Up 0.9% in April (gated)


Here’s more from Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics:

  • Import growth appears to have suffered from similar distortions with much of the weakness concentrated in imports from Hong Kong and Taiwan, which contracted 12.4% last month.
  • That said, imports to the rest of the world grew by just 2.3%, which hints at a legitimate slowdown in imports.
  • Looking ahead, healthy demand in external markets should continue to support exports.
  • Moreover, because Chinese officials appear to have cracked down on over-invoicing around this time last year, the distortions that have pulled down headline export growth look set to fade.
  • In contrast, we expect import growth to remain relatively weak as slowing property activity weighs on commodity imports. As a result, China is likely to continue to post large trade surpluses this year.