The nation's imports rose by 27.3 percent to a record high of $152.06 billion in March, while exports grew up 35.8 percent to $152.2 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $140 million, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement posted on its website on April 4.
This compares to a trade deficit of $7.3 billion in February, the country's first since March last year.
Export growth to China’s biggest trading partners -- the European Union and the U.S. -- accelerated last month as their economies recovered from the global financial crisis, customs bureau data showed. Shipments to Japan surged 37.4 percent from a year earlier to a record $13.1 billion.
Higher commodity prices contributed to the nation recording its first quarterly trade deficit since 2004, underscoring the case for yuan gains to help contain prices. Inbound crude oil shipments in the first quarter rose 12 percent by volume and 39 percent by value to $43.7 billion. The cost of iron ore imports jumped 82.5 percent to $27.7 billion while the amount of metal climbed 14.4 percent, customs data showed.