The US remained the top export market for Chinese goods through April. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Beijing: China's exports rose more than expected in April, suggesting its trade out-performance could last longer than expected this year, fueled by global fiscal stimulus.

Exports grew 32.3 per cent in dollar terms in April from a year earlier. Imports climbed 43.1 per cent, a sign of strong domestic demand and soaring commodity prices, resulting in a bigger-than-expected trade surplus of $42.85 billion for the month.

Global appetite for Chinese goods remained strong in the month, thanks to stimulus packages introduced by developed economies that's helped to fuel demand for household goods, furniture and electronic devices. With vaccine rollouts accelerating and more economies opening up, China's export growth was widely expected to moderate this year as consumers start to spend more on services. But April's data shows that hasn't happened yet.

"The export figure clearly reflects a recovering and expanding global economy," said Hao Zhou, an economist at Commerzbank AG. "Robust imports and exports also mean that China's manufacturing industry is still outperforming the services sector to lead the economic rebound."

Key destination markets
The US was the biggest export market in April, accounting for 15.9% of Chinese goods sold abroad. Southeast Asian nations bought 15.6% of exports while the EU purchased 15.1%.

Exports to India surged 144% in April from a year earlier with the monthly value hitting a record $7.8 billion.

The low base from a year ago also helped to underpin the strong results, but even on a two-year average growth basis which strips out those effects, April's export growth was 16.8 per cent, much stronger than pre-pandemic levels, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics.

"We expect China's export growth will stay strong into the second half of this year," said Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management Ltd, citing strong growth in US demand and continued coronavirus outbreaks in developing countries such as India causing production to shift to China. Those trends are likely to support China's currency, he added.