China has posted a rare trade deficit as exports dropped 1.3 percent while imports soared 38.1 percent in February from a year earlier. Trade deficit was $9.15 billion, the first negative reading since 2014.
Economists said the results were skewed by the week-long Lunar New Year holidays that shutter factories and ports across the nation.
"The latest trade data suggest that, seasonal distortions aside, both exports and imports strengthened at the start of 2017," Julian Evans-Pritchard, a China economist at Capital Economics in Singapore, wrote in a note.
Evans-Pritchard added that surging imports reflect rising commodity prices and external demand probably will remain fairly strong in coming quarters and continue supporting shipments.