China’s exports and imports both grew significantly in May, according to statistics released by the customs bureau on Sunday. Meanwhile, inflation in May eased to 3 percent, the statistics bureau said, the lowest reading in two years.
Exports in May climbed 15.3% from a year earlier to $181 billion, while imports grew 12.7% to $162 billion. For the first five months of the year, exports totaled $774 billion, an increase of 8.7% from last year, and import reached $736 billion, 6.7% more than the same period last year.
Customs statistics showed that major components of the exports during January through May included electronic products ($179 billion), machinery and equipment ($149 billion), apparel ($53 billion), textile ($38 billion), and footwear ($16 billion).
Major import categories included iron ore, soybeans, electronics, and automobiles. For the period between January and May, imported automobiles reached 510,000 units, an astonishing increase of 31.5% from the same period last year.
Strong trade figures and low inflation rates are hopeful signs that the world’s second-largest economy is more resilient than some analysts have expected.
Premier Wen Jiabao in March set a 2012 growth target of 7.5 percent instead of the customary 8% from recent years. The statistics from the past few months indicates that overall growth rate in China may have slowed for 2012, but trade remains healthy and inflation under control, which could mean that this time around the Chinese government will adopt a more restrained stimulus plan than the 4 trillion yuan plan set into motion in late 2008.