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China's exports grow more than expected in May, up by 7.6%

BEIJING — China's exports in May grew faster than expected, while imports missed forecasts, customs data showed Friday.

Exports rose by 7.6% in May from a year a go in U.S. dollar terms, beating expectations for 6% growth, according to a Reuters poll.

Imports, however, rose by 1.8% during that time, missing the Reuters' forecast for 4.2% growth.

In April, China's exports rose by 1.5% year-on-year, while imports climbed by 8.4%. For the first five months of the year, U.S. dollar-denominated exports rose by 2.7% from a year ago, while imports were up by 2.9%.

China's imports and exports to the U.S. and EU fell during that time, according to CNBC calculations of official data. But trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations rose, with China's exports to the region up by 4.1% year-on-year in the January to May period, the data showed. China's exports to Russia fell during that time, while imports from Russia rose by 7.5%.

China's exports of ships nearly doubled in the January to May period from a year ago, while exports of cars and integrated circuits rose by 20% each. Exports of rare earths, fertilizer and cellphones declined.

In an indication of domestic demand, China's crude oil imports were little changed in the first five months of the year versus the same period in 2023. The country is the world's largest importer of crude.

China's exports have held up despite trade tensions with the U.S. and have helped support overall economic growth.

The Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers' index showed that new export orders grew in May for a fifth-straight month, although at a slower pace.

Global trade restrictions are on the rise, however, with about 3,000 imposed last year versus 1,000 in 2019, before the pandemic, the