Updated: 2013-04-19 ( China Daily) - China's exports saw a stable recovery in the first quarter thanks to an effective stabilization policy and a rebound in international market demand.
However, the outlook for exports for the whole year may not be so optimistic due to changing foreign demand, the rising cost of raw materials and fierce market competition, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said on Thursday.
He said these factors will result in a big fluctuation in the volume of monthly exports in 2013.
According to ministry data, China's first-quarter foreign trade was valued at 6.12 trillion yuan ($990.2 billion), up 13.4 percent year-on-year. Exports volume for the period was 3.2 trillion yuan, an 18.4 percent year-on-year increase, while imports grew 8.4 percent to 2.9 trillion yuan for the first three months.
China's trade with the United States increased 10.8 percent, and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations rose 15.5 percent. Sino-South African trade increased 62.1 percent annually, 48.7 percentage points higher than the growth of China's total foreign trade.
Trade between China and Japan fell 10.7 percent from the same period last year, the ministry said.
Chen Hufei, a researcher at the Bank of Communications, said: "The improved foreign-trade environment in the global market will help drive the fast growth of Chinese exports." Meanwhile, the nation's demand for imports is also surging, to help ease the nations trade surplus, said Chen.
For the first quarter, China's trade surplus stood at 270.5 billion yuan.
Shen said the revival of China's exports benefited from a modest turnaround in the international economy, as economic recovery in the US, Europe, Japan, India and Brazil has accelerated.
A poll by the ministry of 1,900 foreign-trade enterprises nationwide shows that orders received by exporters have rebounded, and that exporting confidence is also recovering, with 38.7 percent of these enterprises reporting an increase in the value of their export orders in March.
Growth in short-term orders and orders to large enterprises also drove the increase in exports.
Orders received by exporters with a trading scale of more than $100 million accounted for 42.7 percent of China's export orders in March, the ministry said.
Furthermore, the number of customers and clients at the ongoing Canton Fair in Guangzhou is up on last year.