China’s $13.84 billion trade surplus for April too far from expectations

China has reported its trade surplus for April, showing the powerhouse missed by a big margin as exports declined while imports unexpectedly rose.

These figures came out this Wednesday at time trade talks between the country and its counterpart the U.S. remain delicately poised amid tariff tensions.

Customs data revealed that China’s trade surplus for April was $13.84 billion, a far cry from the projected $35 billion a Reuter’s poll had envisioned. It is also way below March figures of $32.65 billion.

Data from the General Administration of Customs also showed that dollar-denominated exports did not meet expectations over the last month. Exports fell by 2.7% over the same period a year ago, declining against an estimated increase of 2.3%.

Surprisingly, China’s April imports jumped by 4% compared to those recorded last April. Interestingly, economists had estimated that exports would fall 3.6% over the month. Notably, China’s imports had declined by 7.6% in March.

The data reported also showed that China’s April trade surplus with the United States increased to $21.01 billion, up from $20.5 billion recorded the previous month.

The data comes out at a time when officials from China and the U.S. are expected to meet in Washington to resume trade talks amid tensions resulting from new tariff rates imposed by the U.S.

It is expected that even with an unlikely deal between the two nations, Chinese exports could remain subdued. The imports sector should, however, continue to hold up on the back of a government stimulus plan.

S&P Global Ratings’ Asia Pacific chief economist Shaun Roache has said that China will continue to enjoy added liquidity after it moved to cut reserve requirement ratios as well as maintaining lower interest rates.

The U.S. is expected to hike levies on Chinese goods starting this Friday, with these move sending global markets into decline. Asia Pacific markets have been affected the most, with China’s yuan recently hitting its lowest levels in three years. Prices of oil have also been affected.