China’s General Administration of Customs said that exports rose 25.9 percent in April compared with a year earlier, to a record $155.69 billion, exceeding a previous record of $154.12 billion in December. The increase was somewhat surprising because the spring is traditionally a weak period for Chinese exports.
Chinese imports rose at a slower 21.8 percent, to $144.26 billion, which may be explained by government policies implemented to restrict bank lending in an attempt to control inflation or simply deferred purchases because of soaring commodity bills.
China's trade numbers also registered an impact from Japan's earthquake and subsequent nuclear crisis. Imports from Japan were $16 billion in April, down 14.9 percent from March, as production and shipments were interrupted.