BEIJING — China’s politically problematic trade surplus, which had declined during the past several months, has made a strong comeback.
According to official numbers released on Tuesday, the country’s trade surplus grew to $11.4 billion in April, with exports marking a 29.9 percent increase over the same month last year, when many analysts expected it to continue to decline. The news came just on the heels of the first quarter’s small trade deficit — a statistical fact rarely noted here in recent years. Experts credited the resurgence in the surplus with a return to typical trade patterns, and not much else new.
China’s General Administration of Customs reported that exports had increased to a record amount, with a nearly 25.9 percent increase to $155.7 billion. Imports, by comparison, grew by just 21.8 percent.
As the figures were released, officials from China and the United States were engaged in high-level talks on everything from trade to human rights at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, DC. The newly emergent trade surplus could add fuel to President Barrack Obama’s calls for China to further allow its currency to appreciate and help re-balance trade between the two countries. The US administration argues that China’s undervalued currency gives it an unfair trade advantage.