BEIJING -- China's trade growth rebounded after the lifting of anti-virus restrictions that had closed down Shanghai and other industrial centres.
According to a statement from the customs agency, exports grew 16.9% to $308.3 Billion in April compared to April's 3.7% growth. The increase in imports was 4.1%, to $229.5billion. This is an acceleration from the 0.7% growth in April.
China's trade this year has been affected by weak global demand and restrictions imposed to combat outbreaks in Shanghai and other cities. Rules that restricted millions of families from their homes caused a reduction in consumer demand for imports.
Forecasters have reduced China's economic growth estimates to as low at 2% this year because of the Shanghai Shutdown. This is well below the 5.5% target set by the ruling Communist Party.
China's politically sensitive global trade surplus increased by 82.3% to $78.8 Billion, compared to a year ago. This was one of the largest monthly trade gaps, but it was below the record December $94.4 billion.
China's "zero COVID" strategy, which confined Shanghai's 25,000,000 people to their homes in March, and then suspended or closed down businesses in other cities, helped to keep the case numbers low and disrupted manufacturing.
According to the Port of Shanghai, 95% of all cargo containers that were handled daily by May ended up. Business groups warn that delays will be felt worldwide due to a backlog of tens or thousands of containers.
Higher global oil prices and other commodities gave rise to import figures, but the volume of foreign goods purchased by Chinese consumers and businesses declined.