SHANGHAI, Apr. 10 (SMM) -- The General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Tuesday that China's imports and exports expanded 7.3% from a year ago to reach USD 859.37 billion for the first quarter of 2012. Exports for the first quarter were USD 430.02 billion, up 7.6% YoY, while imports were USD 429.35 billion, leading to a trade surplus of USD 670 million. Imports reached USD 160.31 billion in March, up 5.3% YoY, with a trade surplus of USD 5.35 billion. After seasonal adjustment, China’s foreign trade, exports and imports were up by 7.2%, 9.8% and 4.6% YoY, respectively.
China’s foreign trade in March posted a slower growth amid ongoing European debt crisis and waning domestic demand. Although economic conditions in Italy and Greece stabilize, the overall European economy shows no signs of recovery. The European Union is China's largest trading partner, and as the European debt crisis intensifies, its per capita purchasing power is bound to be affected by the decrease in incomes and uncertainties over the future economy, thereby eroding demand.
China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3.6% YoY in March, exceeding market expectations. Total domestic demand wanes, and combined with lower profits staged by enterprises, the economic environment faced by enterprises becomes more complicated, indicating China may face weakening economic momentum and intensifying inflationary pressures.
Metal consumption will unlikely show signs of improvement in the face of disappointing US nonfarm payrolls and lingering European debt crisis, and metal prices will face upward pressures for the foreseeable future.