China’s exports grew more-than-expected in June despite the closure of major ports in southern China due to Covid-19 cases among port workers.

In dollar terms, exports advanced 32.2 percent year-on-year in June, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday. The annual rate was bigger than the economists’ forecast of 23.1 percent and May’s 27.9 percent increase.

Likewise, imports climbed 36.7 percent on a yearly basis, faster than the expected rate of 30 percent. But the pace of expansion eased from 51.1 percent posted in May.

As a result, the trade surplus increased to $51.5 billion in June from $45.5 billion in the previous month. The expected level was $44.2 billion.

Chinese customs spokesperson Li Kuiwen reportedly said that foreign trade growth is likely to slow in the second half of 2021 due to higher base effects. Li cautioned that the overall trade still faces a number of uncertainties due to the global pandemic situation.

Overall, the data suggests that easing supply shortages and still strong demand have helped to keep trade volumes elevated recently, Julian Evans-Pritchard and Sheana Yue, economists at Capital Economics, said.

With trade volumes still well above their pre-virus trend, they will drop back over the coming quarters, economists added.

Data showed that exports to the US grew at a slower pace of 17.8 percent in June. But the trade surplus with the US rose to $32.6 billion.

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