In April, imports surged 21.5 percent from a year earlier to USD 171.64 billion, faster than a 14.4 percent rise in a month earlier and beating expectations of a 16 percent increase. Inbound shipments of unwrought copper imports rose to 442,000 tonnes from the previous month's 430,000 tonnes and the preceding year's 300,000 tonnes. Also, purchases increased for: copper (442,000 tonnes from 439,000 in March); crude oil (39.46 million tonnes from 39.17 million tonnes); and soybeans (6.92 million tonnes from 5.66 million tonnes).
Exports grew by 12.9 percent to USD 200.49 billion, recovering from a 2.7 percent decline in the preceding month but way above forecasts of a 6.3 percent gain. Outbound shipments of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products, including primary, alloy and semi-finished aluminium products, came in at 451,000 tonnes in April, up from 450,000 tonnes in March and from 430,000 tonnes in April 2017. In addition, sales of steel products rose to 6.48 million tonnes from 5.65 million tonnes in a month earlier and compared with 6.49 million tonnes in April 2017.
The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, widened to USD 22.19 billion in April from USD 15.43 billion in March.
Considering the first four months of 2018, China's trade surplus came in at USD 77.87, down sharply from a surplus of USD 101.42 billion in the same period 2017. Exports in the period grew by 16.5 percent compared to the same period the preceding year, while imports went up by 19.6 percent. Meanwhile, from January to April 2018, the trade surplus with the US was USD 80.4 billion, with sales growing by 13.9 percent and imports increasing by 11.6 percent.
In yuan-denominated terms, the trade surplus stood at CNY 18.28 billion in April. Exports went up by 3.7 percent, after a 9.8 percent rise in a month earlier. Purchases increased by 11.6 percent, compared to a 5.9 percent growth in March.