China Reports $7.24 Billion Trade Deficit

China reports a $7.24 billion trade deficit for March, the nation's first monthly trade deficit in almost six years.
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BEIJING (TheStreet) -- China Saturday reported a $7.24 billion trade deficit in March.

It was China's first monthly trade deficit since April 2004, when the country's imports exceeded its exports by $2.26 billion, according to an

Associated Press

report.

China had been expected to report a trade deficit in March, and at least one Chinese official had publicly predicted one. But the size of the March trade deficit significantly exceeded many economists' expectations, the report noted.

The news may take some pressure off China, which is under fire from trading partners for not letting the value of its currency rise against the dollar, the report noted. Critics say China's currency controls give its exports an unfair advantage.

But the deficit is not likely to last. Zheng Yuesheng, chief of the customs agency's statistics department, said China's trade balance likely will return to a surplus soon, the report said.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.