China says exports rise for first time in seven months

BEIJING – Chinese exports rose in November for the first time in seven months, officials said Thursday, as the country navigates a troubled recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Overseas shipments edged up 0.5 percent on-year to $291 billion, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said, marking their first increase since April.

The figure was much better than the 0.3 percent contraction forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg poll.

However, imports slipped back into contraction, falling 0.6 percent to $224 billion, the GAC said.

Chinese exports — long a key growth driver — have largely been in decline since last October except for a short-lived rebound in March and April.

They slumped 6.4 percent in October, faring far worse than analysts’ predictions.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded a moderate 4.9 percent in the third quarter, slightly less than Beijing’s five percent target, which is one of the lowest in years.

Officials have struggled to sustain a recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, even after removing draconian containment measures at the end of 2022.

Exports have been hit by weak global demand, while a debt-fuelled property crisis and low consumption have caused headaches at home.

Consumer prices shrank 0.2 percent in October, marking a return to deflation following a modest rebound from the summer. – AFP / pic TMR FILE