China produced a rare trade deficit in in February after imports galloped, official data showed Wednesday.
Exports fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier in February against a Reuters analyst poll predicting a 12.3 percent rise, but imports soared 38.1 percent from a year ago, beating forecasts of a 20 percent jump.
The numbers compared against a 7.9 percent on-year rise in exports in January and a 16.7 percent rise in imports.
China ended up with a rare trade deficit of $9.15 billion for February - the first since February 2014 - the General Administration of Customs said. In January, China recorded a trade surplus of $51.35 billion.
Analysts cautioned that data in January and February can be distorted by the week-long Lunar New Year public holidays, with business slowing down ahead of time and many firms scaling back operations or closing. The holiday fell on January 28 this year, 11 days earlier than last year.
China earlier reported exports rose 4.2 percent from a year earlier in February in yuan-denominated terms, while imports soared 44.7 percent from a year ago.
The data reflected robust economic activity, analysts noted.