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Asia Economy Last Updated: Apr 10, 2014 - 12:53 PM

Chinese premier rules out stimulus as exports slump in March
By Finfacts Team
Apr 10, 2014 - 9:54 AM

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gives a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2014 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in the coastal town of China's southernmost island province of Hainan, April 10, 2014 on Thursday morning.

China's exports slumped for the second straight month in March according to a report Thursday and Li Keqiang, Chinese premier, speaking at the 2014 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in the coastal town of China's southernmost island province of Hainan, ruled out a stimulus program.

The premier said that job creation was the government’ policy priority and that it did not matter if growth came in a little below the official target of 7.5%.

“We will not take, in response to momentary fluctuations in economic growth, short-term and forceful stimulus measures,” Li said in a speech. “We will instead focus more on medium to long-term healthy development.”

China's exports fell 6.6% to US$170.11bn in March, customs data showed on Thursday, raising fresh concerns over the health of the trade sector and strength of the country's economy.

Imports were down 11.3% to $162.41bn and total foreign trade volume declined 9% to $332.52bn, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said.

The trade balance returned to a surplus of $7.71bn in March after a deficit of $22.98bn the previous month, the administration said.

Xinhua, the official news agency, said that Zheng Yuesheng, GAC spokesman, played down any concerns about exports, attributing the drop to a high base figure in the corresponding period last year.

Exports this time last year were significantly inflated by rampant over-invoicing to disguise capital flows, sending exports up by more than 20% year on year in the first quarter of 2013, previous figures showed.

Zheng said the declining trend will be temporary and he is optimistic about trade performance in the second quarter. "China's foreign trade will recover in May," he said.

Thursday's figures also showed that China's total foreign trade volume fell 1% year on year to $965.88bn in the first three months.

Exports dropped 3.4% year on year while imports went up 1.6% during the period, with the trade surplus standing at $16.74bn in the three-month period.

China set a trade growth target of 7.5% this year, lower than the 8% target for 2013 and actual expansion of 7.6%.

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