China posted the first trade deficit in nearly a year during the second month of the year on slowing export growth and strong imports, exacerbated by rising oil prices and other commodities, according to The Wall Street Journal. On Thursday, the General Administration of Customs for China said that country had a $7.3 billion trade deficit with the rest of the world during February. The deficit more than reverses a $6.45 billion surplus the previous month, and surprised economists that expected a $3.9 billion surplus.
The trade deficit was the first monthly deficit since March 2010, although economists pointed to seasonal factors for the shift. Exports added 2.4% year-over-year in February after posting a 37.7% annual increase during the previous month. Imports were up 19.4% annually, after a 51% annual gain previously, and both figures were below forecasts for economists forecasts for increases of 25.9% and 32.8%, respectively. If a narrowing surplus becomes a trend over the course of the year, it would likely decrease pressure on Chinese leaders to allow the countrys currency to appreciate more rapidly.