Chinese export, import growth slow in April as rebound cools

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un right waves during the opening ceremony of the Ryomyong residential area a collection of more than a dozen apartment buildings in Pyongyang North Korea. While the South prepares for its pre

Overall, from January to April, the volume of bilateral trade grew by 26.2 percent to $24.7 billion, while Chinese exports to Russian Federation increased by 22 percent and imports from Russian Federation by 30.1 percent compared to the same period of the past year.

The value of shipments overseas had been forecast to grow 10.0% according to economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

That pushed the trade surplus to $38 billion from $23.9 billion in March, according to customs figures.

China's trade surplus has been a point of contention with the U.S. Since the early-April summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Florida, trade tensions have eased, reducing the prospect for punitive U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Economists said the latest numbers, which follow softer readings in the most recent China and USA factory activity indexes, indicate slowing trade momentum.

China's net steel exports in April stood at 5.41 million mt, down 14% on month and down 32% year on year.

During the first four months, trade with the European Union gained 15.5 percent year on year to 1.24 trillion yuan, accounting for 14.8 percent of the total.

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The slower imports came as major refineries kicked off their annual maintenance periods, but lower crude oil prices still supported robust demand from some processors.

As a result of 2016, the trade turnover between Russia and China grew by 2.2 percent to $69.525 billion where Chinese exports to Russia grew by 7.3 percent to 37.297 billion dollars, while imports from Russia fell by 3.1 percent to $32.228 billion.

"The broader context for China's export stabilization is the recovery of global economy", said Tommy Xie, an economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore. "Trade will continue to improve this year but not as much as people expect".

"I think the growth picture is on target".

Even at a reduced pace, however, exports are expected to contribute to growth in the world's second-largest economy this year as demand for technology products expands in the USA and Europe.

"The slower-than-expected growth in April's imports partly reflected the impact of tightening regulations on firms' financing costs and growth expectations", said Deng. Foreign trade is expected to face a better environment in 2017 compared with the past two years, it said.

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