China's exports surged unexpectedly from a year ago, in February, while imports rose slower than estimates, customs data showed Wednesday.
Imports in yuan-denominated terms increased by 44.7 percent year-on-year last month, markedly higher than the 25.2 percent growth in January and market expectations, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
Exports only grew 4.2 percent in February, slowing from January's 15.9 percent, GAC data showed.
That led to a monthly trade deficit of 60.36 billion yuan (8.74 billion U.S. dollars), in contrast with a surplus of over 354 billion yuan in January. In the same period last year, China had a surplus of 180.5 billion yuan.
Total foreign trade volume reached 1.71 trillion yuan in the last month, up 21.9 percent year on year.
February's data generally continued the growth momentum in China's foreign trade since the beginning of the year. Exports and imports both increased significantly in January.
In the first two months combined, exports increased 11 percent from a year ago, and imports jumped 34.2 percent.
Trade with the European Union jumped 15 percent from a year ago. The EU is China's biggest trade partner, accounting for 15 percent of the country's foreign trade.
Trade with the United States, ASEAN and Japan went up by 18.9 percent, 24.2 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively.
In a breakdown of products, machinery and electronics exports rose in the first two months, while the labor-intensive products of textiles and clothes saw shrinking orders.
Meanwhile, imports of primary commodities such as iron ore and crude oil continued to grow, featuring general price rises.
China's advanced exports index continued its gaining streak to stand at 40.2 in February, up from 39 in January. Enditem