Seasonal factors and wavering demand for Chinese exports combined to produce an unexpectedly large and likely record-breaking trade deficit last month, according to The Wall Street Journal:
China posted a trade deficit of $31.48 billion in February after reporting a $27.28 billion surplus in January, according to data released Saturday by the General Administration of Customs.
Economists had widely expected the trade balance to swing to a deficit, as imports recovered from a temporary disruption during the Lunar New Year holiday in January. But the size of February’s deficit is well beyond the range of analyst estimates ….
Analysts say that China is still likely to run a trade surplus for the full year. The country’s manufacturers often stock up on imported supplies early in the year that are then fashioned into exports later in the year, leading to seasonal deficits early on.