Import growth points to economic stabilization

China’s imports in August rose for the first time in nearly two years while the decline in exports decelerated, signaling that government measures to stabilize growth may have taken effect, experts said on Thursday.

Dollar-denominated imports beat expectations to increase by 1.5 percent year-on-year, reversing a 12.5 percent slump in July.

Exports in dollar terms fell 2.8 percent year-on-year, the slowest pace in four months, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

Factors including a rebound in commodities prices, improved domestic and overseas demand, and a weaker yuan may have contributed to the better-than-expected trade data in August, experts said.

Guo Yanhong, chief strategist at Founder Securities Co, said that the improved trade data also pointed to the effective government measures to stabilize growth, including expansion of infrastructure projects and strong property sales, which helped lift domestic demand and boost import growth.

Official data showed that China’s iron ore imports jumped 9.3 percent in August from a year earlier, while coal imports rose by 12.4 percent.

“The improvement in imports could last until September but any adjustment in China’s property market could once again weigh on imports,” Guo said.

Zhao Yang, an economist at Nomura Securities Co Ltd, said that the surprising surge in imports in August may be more transient than long-lasting.

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