Chinese exports rose for the second consecutive month in April, official data showed on Monday, boosted by improving global demand, but at a slower pace than in the previous month, reports AFP. Exports were up 8.0 percent year-on-year to $180 billion, while imports were up 11.9 percent at $142 billion. That pushed the trade surplus to $38 billion from $23.9 billion in March, according to customs figures. “Growth in exports shows robust global demand,” Xia Le, a Hong Kong-based economist at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, told Bloomberg News. “China’s financial deleveraging has just started, and will weigh on the domestic economy. Imports will reflect that trend first,” Xia said. Exports to the huge US market increased by 11.7 percent in April compared to 19.7 percent a month earlier, while shipments to the European Union rose four percent. The figures follow official and private surveys showing that factory activity expanded at a slower-than-expected pace in April. China’s export data had improved in March as fears of a trade war with the United States eased after US President Donald Trump’s stance on Beijing softened after a cordial summit with President Xi Jinping. Trump reversed course on an election campaign promise to label Beijing a currency manipulator and slap punitive tariffs on Chinese imports. “Today’s trade data suggest that growth momentum weakened slightly in April,” according to an analysis by Nomura investment bank, adding that it expects the economy to grow 6.8 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, compared to 6.9 percent in the first three months of 2017. While exports increased at a slower rate than March, when they soared by 16.4 percent, they marked a second consecutive month of growth after a 1.3 percent fall in February. The latest data suggests a “softening momentum in China’s export growth” in the second quarter, according to Betty Wang, an economist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. But the “pipeline of electronic products in the global supply chain is still likely to keep China’s export outlook stable through 2017,” Wang said in a note. The weaker import data “mirrors” a softening of commodity price growth in April, with year-on-year growth of global oil prices and domestic iron ore prices slowing sharply compared with previous months, she said. “Commodity prices, China’s iron ore inventory pile-up, and credit tightening may weigh on China’s import outlook in the near term,” Wang said.