China posted a trade surplus of US$680m in February, following a deficit of US$1.25bn in January. For the two months combined, which allow for the impact of the Spring Festival falling in different months, the deficit was US$570m. Exports rose 33 per cent in the first two months to US$54.2bn, while imports climbed 57 per cent from a year earlier to US$54.8bn.
Exporters of cellular phones, refrigerators and washing machines were reported to be strong ahead of a possible war against Iraq. China is also thought to have been importing more oil in anticipation of a US invasion of Iraq. It is building a stockpile of 20m tons of oil, according to Song Chaoyi, a deputy director of the State Development Planning Commission.