China surprises with best export growth since March, but imports remain weak

09 Août, 2019, 03:24 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Despite the positive numbers, they could contribute to the escalation in the US-China dispute, mainly because exports surged and Beijing's trade surplus came in better than what the market had anticipated.

Exports increased 3.3 percent in July from a year earlier, while imports declined 5.6 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $45.1 billion, the customs administration said on Thursday.

Chinese exports climbed 3.3% from a year earlier to $221.5 billion last month, up from a 1.3% contraction in June. The sharp drop in the yuan this week, beyond the key 7 per dollar mark for the first time since spring 2008, should help exporters although they are now facing fresh USA tariffs from September along with weaker global demand. The main objective of doing so is solving the trade imbalance between both countries since it now favors China. They also beat the median estimate of a 2% decline.

"The July numbers are strong, but the June and July numbers are just like chalk and cheese", said Vivek Dhar, an analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Melbourne. Exports to the United States declined 6.5% to $38.8 billion.

Trade with ASEAN totaled 2.35 trillion yuan, an increase of 11.3 percent, accounting for 13.5 percent of the total.

"China is intent on continuing to receive the hundreds of Billions of Dollars they have been taking from the USA with unfair trade practices and currency manipulation", said Trump on Twitter earlier this week.

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"The strength in exports reflected a broad-based improvement", said Michelle Lam, Greater China economist at Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong.

China's July exports to the United States fell 6.5% year-on-year, while imports from America slumped 19.1%.

Also of note, private enterprises posted rapid growth in imports and exports. In the first seven months, they contributed a total of 7.31 trillion yuan to China's exports and imports, up 11.8 percent, accounting for 42 percent of the total foreign trade value which is 2.9 percent higher than the same period past year.

Among them, exports totalled 4.82 trillion yuan, up 14.2 percent, accounting for 50.9 percent of the headline exports, while imports grew 7.4 percent to 2.49 trillion yuan to account for 31.4 percent of the overall imports.

President Donald J. Trump announced last week that the United States will impose 10 percent additional tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese exports starting next month, after the two sides ended their first face-to-face talks in three months without progress.

Stabilizing exports are a brighter sign for China's slowing economy after a bruising first half and follow indications that policy-makers are willing to tolerate a weaker yuan that may help boost the nation's external competitiveness. However, the pick-up in year-on-year growth rates suggests underlying demand remains robust, according to Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ Group.

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