China booked an unexpectedly high trade imbalance in February as imports soared at their strongest pace since early 2012, the General Administration of Customs reported Wednesday.
The Asian nation's February imports expanded by a staggering 38.1 percent, well above analysts' forecasts, while shipments abroad dropped by 1.3 percent in the month under review.
That left the country with a trade deficit of $9.15 billion (8.66 billion euros) for the month, the administration said on its website.
Observers warned, though, that trends in January and February could be distorted by the long Lunar New Year holidays, with business slowing down weeks ahead of time and many firms scaling back operations or closing.
The big picture
China's exports for January and February combined rose by 4.0 percent from the same period a year earlier, while imports increased by 26.4 percent.
The figures suggested that there had been solid improvement in domestic demand and from abroad despite any holiday distortions.
Earlier in the week, China had reported an unexpected rise in its foreign exchange reserves, which increased by 6.9 percent in February.
The People's Bank of China said the world's largest currency hoard surged to $3.01 trillion, marking a strong rebound from a decline in January.
hg/mm (AFP, dpa)