China’s exports for the month of March fell by 15% from a year ago (in dollar terms), the General Administration of Customs said today. It was a big surprise to markets and investors, who were expecting a rise of as much as 12%.
Imports also dropped, by 12.3%, although that was in line with expectations. As a result China’s trade surplus shrunk for March to just $3.1 billion, compared with expectations of $40 billion or more.
Deciphering what’s behind China’s official economic data is always more of an art than a science, but surprises this big are rare, in part because the data are usually so carefully managed. Here are a few of the most credible theories from economists and analysts:
The strong yuan is curbing foreign demand for Chinese products. China’s exports are being stifled by a yuan that strengthened slightly against the…
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