China will likely post another trade deficit in March as imports continue to surge, following a an unexpected deficit last month, Commerce Minister Chen Deming was quoted by the China Daily as saying on Sunday.

China swung to a trade deficit of $7.3 billion in February, its largest in seven years as the Lunar New Year holiday dealt an unexpected sharp blow to exports. Economists have said the sudden drop was likely to prove temporary.

China will further expand imports this year. Besides February, China will likely see a trade deficit in March, Chen was cited as saying by the paper, without giving an estimated figure.

Chen also expected the ratio of China's total trade surplus this year to the country's gross domestic product to dip further from last year's 3.1 percent, the report said.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)