BEIJING, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The outlook for China's foreign trade remained grim but the full-year target of a 10-percent rise is still achievable, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Tuesday.
The country might register a trade surplus in 2012, which will narrow from last year's trade surplus of 155.14 billion U.S. dollars, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference in Beijing.
"China's foreign trade will be basically balanced this year with a small surplus," Shen said.
As for April's weak trade data, shrinking external demand, rising labor and raw material costs and increasing trade frictions weighed on export growth, according to the spokesman.
"The external demand was worse than expected. Demand from the European Union, the country's biggest trade partner, dropped significantly," he said.
China's exports to the EU dropped 2 percent year-on-year in April, according to official data.
Slowing domestic demand, a moderation in the processing trade and falling global commodity prices slowed China's growth of imports in April, Shen noted.
China's exports rose 4.9 percent year-on-year in April, down from the 8.9-percent increase registered in the previous month. Import growth fell to 0.3 percent from 5.3 percent in March.
The country's trade surplus expanded to 18.4 billion U.S. dollars last month.
China's high-tech, high value-added exports rose sharply last month, Shen said.
Exports of automatic data processing equipment jumped 10.6 percent year-on-year, while exports of precious metal jewelry skyrocketed 134 percent.
Exports of labor-intensive goods, including watches, bicycles and furniture, grew by at least 10 percent last month, Shen said.
Meanwhile, China's exports to emerging markets maintained sound growth momentum, as the country has sought to reduce dependence on exports to developed countries which have been mired in debt crises and a slow recovery.
Exports to Russia gained 39.4 percent year-on-year during the first four months, while exports to Indonesia climbed 26.2 percent, according to Shen.