BEIJING (AP) — China's exports jumped in May from a year earlier, the government said, although the increase is unlikely to be enough to ease pressure on the country's leaders to reverse a sharp economic slump.
Export growth climbed a robust 15.3 percent compared to May 2011, up from April's 4.9 percent, while imports climbed 12.1 percent year on year compared with the previous month's increase of 0.3 percent, according to customs data released Sunday.
China's global trade surplus widened to $18.7 billion.
The country's economy — the second-biggest in the world after the United States — is forecast to grow by its slowest rate in a decade, raising the risk of job losses and unrest. It's a touchy challenge for the ruling Communist Party as it tries to enforce calm ahead of a once-a-decade handover of power to younger leaders.
The government announced Saturday that in May, growth in factory output edged up to 9.6 percent from April's 9.3 percent — the lowest rate since the 2008 crisis — but was well below last year's levels. Growth in spending on factories and other fixed assets edged down.
Beijing cut interest rates last week for the first time in nearly four years in a new effort to buoy growth that fell to a nearly three-year low of 8.1 percent in the first quarter and is forecast to fall further.
Chinese leaders spent two years tightening lending and investment curbs to cool an overheated economy and inflation before the unexpectedly sharp drop in global demand last year prompted them to reverse course.