Beijing: China reported a large trade deficit in February mainly due to distortion by the Chinese New Year holidays, marking the first deficit since April 2013.
Last month, the trade deficit stood at USD 22.98 billion, compared with a surplus of USD 14.8 billion last February and USD 31.86 billion this January, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said in a statement Saturday.
Total trade dropped by 4.8 percent year on year to USD 251.18 billion, with exports falling 18.1 percent and imports up 10.1 percent.
In January, foreign trade climbed 10.3 percent, with exports rising 10.6 percent and imports up by 10 percent.
"The Spring Festival factor contributed to large fluctuations in trade volume and the deficit last month," the GAC said.
The Spring Festival, or China's lunar new year, is the country's most important traditional festival for family reunions.
Trade with the European Union, China's largest trade partner, rose 6.3 percent to 551.99 billion yuan ( USD 90.19 billion) in the first two months, while that with the United States, its second-biggest trade partner, rose 4.8 percent to USD 499.05 billion yuan.
The dramatic fluctuation in the monthly trade figure has caused some concerns about the health of the trade sector, state run Xinhua news agency reported.
However, GAC spokesman Zheng Yuesheng played down the fluctuation, saying that trade growth will likely get back to normal after the holiday distortion goes away in March.
First Published: Saturday, March 08, 2014, 14:23