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BEIJING: China’s exports rebounded strongly in May, data showed Thursday, with factories restarting and supply chains untangling as Shanghai slowly emerged from a gruelling lockdown.

The city of 25 million underwent a stuttered lockdown from late March and was then fully sealed off for around two months, as China tightly adheres to a zero-Covid approach to fight the outbreak.

Strict movement restrictions across multiple cities – sometimes over just handfuls of cases – kept consumers at home and battered the economy, dragging retail sales, factory output and export growth to their lowest levels in about two years.

But as restrictions have eased, overseas shipments from the world’s second-biggest economy bounced back 16.9 percent on-year in May, up from 3.9 percent in April, according to customs data released on Thursday.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected a 7.6 percent spike.

However observers have warned that the rebound could be short-lived.

Yuan recovers from week low as China’s exports rebound

“Extensive disruptions in the Yangtze River Delta in the past couple of months and Beijing’s determination to carry on with its zero-Covid strategy may cause some foreign customers to shift their orders to… neighbouring countries,” Nomura analysts said in a recent note.

Imports rose 4.1 percent last month, according to customs data, also beating expectations.

China’s trade surplus was around $79 billion last month, up from $51 billion in April, the Customs Administration said in a statement.

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