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China says trade outlook challenging despite upbeat data

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-10 09:28

BEIJING - China's Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday that the country's trade outlook remains complex and grim despite strong rebounds in the first two months of the year.

The comments came after China unexpectedly posted its first monthly trade deficit in three years last month as imports rose higher than expected amid improving growth momentum at home, while export growth was weaker than expected, partly due to the festival season influence.

For the first two months, foreign trade in yuan-denominated terms grew 20.6 percent year on year, with imports up 34.2 percent, while exports climbed 11 percent, according to customs statistics.

Commerce ministry spokesman Sun Jiwen said the data for the first two months, usually distorted by seasonal factors, would not reflect the full-year trend.

Looking ahead, the country still faces a complex and grim trade outlook with growing uncertainties, Sun said at a press conference, adding that the trade challenges will remain for a while.

The country vowed to continue efforts to ensure that foreign trade continues to pick up and register steady growth in 2017, according to a government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the opening meeting of the annual session of China's top legislature on Sunday.

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