China’s exports unexpectedly surged last month as America’s speedy recovery from the pandemic spurred demand.
Stalled factory production in India, as the country struggles with a coronavirus crisis, also helped boost the global market for Chinese goods.
China’s exports in dollar terms surged by more than 32% from a year earlier to almost $264bn (£190bn).
In the same month imports grew at the fastest pace in more than a decade, rising by 43% from a year ago.
Despite ongoing trade tensions with the US and other countries, China’s exports for the month were almost $43bn more than its imports, a more than threefold increase.
Economists highlight that the figures are heavily skewed as they are compared to the period a year ago when the country was brought to a virtual standstill by strict lockdown measures.
But the recovery of the world’s second largest economy still faces some major challenges.
Analysts expect China’s gross domestic product growth to slow from the record 18.3% expansion in the January-March quarter.
That comes as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts supply chains around the world, slowing the movement of goods and pushing up the cost of shipping.
The global shortage of microchips, which are used in everything from cars to phones, is also hurting manufacturers.
Last week, China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index showed that factory activity growth slowed in April from the previous month.
On Thursday, China “indefinitely” suspended key economic dialogue with Australia, the latest in a growing diplomatic rift between the countries.
Relations have declined since Australia called for a probe into the origins of Covid-19 and banned Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from building its 5G network.
Last year, China imposed sanctions on Australian goods such as wine and beef.
In a statement, a Chinese government commission accused Australia of having a “Cold War mindset”.