China's foreign trade grows past market expectations in January

Posted February 12, 2017

BEIJING-China's exports rose strongly in January from a year earlier, in a possible sign of recovery in external demand for goods from the world's second-largest economy.

In the USD terms, China's trade balance came in surplus at USD 51.4 billion, increasing from December's surplus of USD 40.8 billion.

Capital Economics China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said while seasonal factors, including the impact of the Lunar New Year holiday, played a large part in the results, underlying demand appears to have strengthened. The Lunar New Year period in 2017 began in late January.

Exports of Chinese merchandise jumped 7.9 per cent in January compared with a year earlier in dollar terms, beating the Bloomberg consensus of 3.2 per cent.

Trade relations between China and the USA are likely to be the focus of the White House now that temsions over the One China policy appear to have eased following President Donald Trump's assurance to uphold it when he called President Xi Jinping on Thursday. In total, China imported 381 million metric tons of crude a year ago, showing a 13.6 percent increase.

The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $6.55 billion in January 2017.

China's foreign trade grows past market expectations in January
China's foreign trade grows past market expectations in January

January data also benefited from a more favorable comparison to a year earlier, when shipments slumped 10.9 percent in yuan terms. But the country was still a net exporter for the month.

Similarly, a 16.7 per cent increase in imports, up from 3 per cent growth the month before, indicates domestic demand is picking up.

China's total trade surplus narrowed in 2016 to $510.7 billion.

Chinese exporters suffered a record 119 trade remedy investigations initiated by 27 countries and regions previous year, 36.8 percent more than 2015.

Prolonged weakness in exports has forced China's government to rely on higher spending and massive bank lending to boost the economy, at the risk of adding to a huge pile of debt which some analysts warn is nearing danger levels.

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