China’s export growth jumped to the highest in over two decades, according to China’s official data. Imports are also surging. Electronics and textile exports such as masks contributed to the spike in outbound shipments, as demand for work-from-home supplies and protective gear against the virus outbreak soared during the pandemic. Exports spiked 60.6% on-year in the January-February period, above analysts’ expectations and boosted by electronics and mask shipments, while imports rose 22.2%, official data showed. Electronics exports rose 54.1%, while exports of textiles including masks rose 50.2%.
The latest customs figures stand in stark contrast to last year’s fall of around 17% in exports and 4% drop in imports. The country struggled to contain the spread of Covid-19 early on, with consumers staying home and businesses seeing a slow return to operations. The comparison to last year is also likely to have bolstered the latest figures.
China’s overall trade surplus came in at US$ 103.3 billion, its customs administration said. Chinese authorities started combining January and February trade data last year, while it battled the coronavirus outbreak. This is in line with how some other indicators are released, to smooth over distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday, which can fall in either month.