Imports exceeded exports (paywall) by a mere $900 million in March as part of the volatile—and difficult to parse—Lunar New Year period.
But the update also raised further doubts about the veracity of the numbers, exemplified in the absurd growth in “exports” to Hong Kong reported for March. Total exports to Hong Kong were reported at $48.4 billion, a 93% jump from March of 2012. On a nominal basis, the exports to Hong Kong were close to double the $26.8 billion in exports that were reportedly shipped to China’s second largest trading partner, the US. The Financial Times (paywall) reported that many analysts see those ridiculous trade numbers as the result of capital inflows being reported as trade invoices, as a means of avoiding China’s restrictive capital controls. Another theory is that Chinese companies fake exports in order to take advantage of tax rebate schemes.