China experienced a stronger-than-expected performance in terms of international trade during August 2016, according to new official figures.
The country's General Administration of Customs reported that exports dipped by 2.8 per cent last month compared to the level from a year before, following a decline of 4.4 per cent in July. Nevertheless, this was less than the four per cent export decline analysts had predicted.
Meanwhile, imports unexpectedly rose 1.5 per cent year on year, reversing a 12.5 per cent fall in July and exceeding forecasts of a 4.9 per cent fall. This represented the first rise in imports in dollar-denominated terms since October 2014.
As such, the country's trade surplus for the month came to $52.05 billion (€46.37 billion), which was slightly below July's seven-month high of $52.31 billion and lower than estimates suggested.
Despite the better-than-expected August performance, weak demand and global uncertainty continue to weigh on China's economic growth at present, with the uptick in imports attributed more to a rise in prices for raw materials than to any sign of market recovery.
Shuang Ding, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank, told the Wall Street Journal: "In general, the figures are quite positive for both exports and imports. But domestic demand is still more or less the same. I don't expect any major pickup."