Chinese exports surged in 2021 on solid global demand as countries reopened from pandemic lockdowns, data showed Friday, bumping its overall trade surplus to a new high and providing a much-needed boost to the stuttering economy, but officials warned of headwinds.

The world’s second-biggest economy saw a quick rebound from the coronavirus in the past two years—after cases first surfaced in a central city in late 2019 — allowing factories to operate and feed global appetite for electronics and medical supplies.

That led to a 29.9 per cent spike in exports last year, helping push the annual trade surplus to $676 billion, with customs spokesman Li Kuiwen saying the surge was fanned by an uptick in shipments of mechanical and electronic products. Imports increased 30.1 per cent.

But while China “handed in a dazzling report card” in the face of challenges, Li told reporters Friday that the economy “faces triple pressures of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations”.

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