China’s exports for the month of March came in much higher than expected, while its imports came in much lower than expected, according to customs data released on Friday.
Dollar-denominated exports rose 14.2 percent for March from a year ago, topping expectations of a 7.3 percent rise from a year ago, according to a Reuters poll.
But dollar-denominated imports were down 7.6 percent in March from a year ago, falling short of expectations of a 1.3 percent decline from a year ago.
All told, that gave China a March trade surplus of $32.64 billion, according to Reuters and Dow Jones calculations. Dow Jones said the surplus was only expected to have come in at $6 billion and Reuters had expectations at $7.05 billion.
Following the release of the data, the offshore Chinese yuan strengthened to 6.7225 against the dollar from 6.7303, according to Reuters.
The International Monetary Fund upgraded its 2019 growth forecast for China in a Tuesday report, citing Beijing’s efforts to support the economy and an improved outlook for the Asian giant’s tariff fight with the U.S.
The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that China is projected to grow by 6.3 percent this year, higher than the fund’s previous forecast of 6.2 percent.
Meanwhile, hopes are high that the U.S. and China could be close to a trade deal, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin telling CNBC that Washington and Beijing have “pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism” for when a deal is struck.