China swung back to a trade surplus last month, reversing a massive deficit recorded in February, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday. The country recorded a surplus of $5.35 billion in March, as exports rose 8.9 percent to $165.66 billion for the month, Xinhua said. Imports were $160.31 billion in March, Xinhua said, but gave no growth figure. In February, China registered a huge trade deficit of $31.48 billion -- the largest in more than a decade -- as the West's economic troubles hit the world's second largest economy. Analysts had predicted a deficit of $3.2 billion for March, according to a median forecast of 15 economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires. The latest figures could provide hope that China will avoid a hard landing despite slowing exports, a major engine of growth for the economy. China's economy is widely expected to slow this year as woes in key export markets such as Europe and the United States hit its overseas sales. The government last month set a target for 7.5 percent economic growth this year. China's economy grew 9.2 percent last year and 10.4 percent in 2010.