Apr 13, 2017 02:01 PM EDT
China's overseas shipments last month jumped the most in two years as global demand held up. Imports moderated after a holiday-season surge in February and the trade balance rose.
The pace of trade expansion is likely to slow in the second quarter, a spokesman for the General Administration of Customs said at a briefing. Trade remained "sound and steady" in the first quarter, but the data don't show the full picture for 2017, officials said in a statement released with the data.
"The March number is much better compared to previous months because the first two months are often distorted" by the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, said Wang Qiufeng, an analyst at China Chengxin International Credit Rating in Beijing. "The coming quarters won't be as strong as the first quarter, especially on the imports front, the prices of commodities won't continue rising, which may drag down on the imports growth," she said.
Private-sector trade surged 22.5 percent to 2.28 trillion yuan in the first quarter to account for 36.8 percent of the nation's total, according to customs. That growth was 0.2 percentage point higher than the same period last year.
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