Chinese export growth exceeds expectations despite strong demand

Chinese export growth exceeds expectations despite strong demand

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Chinese exports grew at a slower-than-expected pace in March, although global demand remained strong, while imports surged on higher commodity prices.

Exports rose 30.6% in dollars in March from a year earlier, customs data showed Tuesday, below the median forecast of 38% in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Imports jumped 38.1%, leaving a trade surplus of $ 13.8 billion for the month, well below the expected $ 52 billion.

Importations Hit Record

Exports are also rebounding, but not as strongly

Source: Chinese General Administration of Customs

Although growth slowed after a record gain in February, data indicates that export dynamics remained strong in March, with vaccine rollouts and a resumption of global growth helping to boost demand.

“Export outperformance remains a theme of the recovery in China,” said Peiqian Liu, economist at Natwest Markets in an interview on Bloomberg TV, adding that this was due to “a combination of recovering global demand and the role of China in filling the world market. supply chain gaps. “

Peiqian Liu, economist at Natwest Markets, discusses what the latest figures say about the health of the world’s second largest economy and its outlook.

The numbers are also distorted by comparison with early 2020, when the pandemic wiped out much of the world’s second-largest economy. Premier Li Keqiang told experts and businesses over the weekend to look beyond the “base effect” and use other data and methods to assess the economic situation.

The World Trade Organization predicts that world trade will increase by 8% this year, the biggest gain since 2010, after falling 5.3% in 2020. While giving no predictions on the outlook for the foreign trade of the China’s trade ministry has said it will push for stable development of foreign trade this year.

Xing Zhaopeng, Senior China Strategist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Shanghai, said the surge in imports was due to rising volumes and prices of raw materials.

“Looking ahead, while higher commodity prices may increase import costs in the short run, the recovery in external demand may offset some of the impact,” he said.

Other details

  • In yuan terms, exports grew 38.7% in the first quarter to 4.61 trillion yuan ($ 704 billion), while imports rose 19.3% to 3.86 trillion yuan , leaving a surplus of 759.3 billion yuan.
  • Exports to the United States jumped 53.3% in March from a year earlier, resulting in a trade surplus of $ 21.37 billion.
  • For a breakdown of imports by country, click here.

– Avec l’aide de James Mayger, Lin Zhu, Yinan Zhao et Yujing Liu

(Updates with comments from economists.)

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