Wednesday, January 19, 2022

China recorded record trade surpluses in December 2021 and strong exports in 2021

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BEIJING () – China recorded record trade surpluses in December and 2021 as exports exceeded expectations in the context of a global pandemic, but some analysts point to a slowdown in international shipments in the coming months.

FILE PHOTO: Containers at Yangshan Deepwater Port in Shanghai, October 19, 2020. / Aly Song

According to the Bureau of Statistics, the trade surplus in 2021 was $ 676.43 billion, the highest level since its inception in 1950, and exceeded $ 523.99 billion in 2020.

According to customs data on Friday, China recorded a record trade surplus for December as exports remained stable, while import growth slowed sharply.

The trade surplus rose to $ 94.46 billion in December, the highest level since a record began in August 1994, a sharp increase from the $ 71.72 billion surplus in November and higher than the $ 74.50 billion surplus forecast in the survey. .

Exports grew 20.9% year-on-year last month and 20% growth was higher than expected, but fell below 22% growth in November.

“Exports remained strong last month, but may soften in the coming months as disruptions at ports intensify,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, a senior Chinese economist at Capital Economics.

The Chinese Health Ministry reported a total of 143 locally approved COVID-19 cases in China on Friday, including the northern port city of Tianjin on Jan. 13.

“Meanwhile, imports have fallen sharply, which is consistent with the continuation of domestic weakness, especially in the property sector,” Evans-Pritchard said.

According to customs data, imports grew by 19.5% in December compared to the same period last year, with a forecast of 26.3% growth and a sharp decline in November, up 31.7%. lost.

The world’s second-largest economy has experienced an impressive recovery from the pandemic, helping to stimulate export growth as several other sectors have been slowing, but there are signs that the pace is slowing. Property declines and strict COVID-19 restrictions are among the winds that cloud the outlook for 2022.

China’s economic growth rate is expected to slow to 5.2% in 2022, before stabilizing in 2023, when the survey showed that the central bank continues to ease policies to prevent a sharp decline.

Louis Kuijs, head of Asian economics at Oxford Economics, said in a statement, “We expect import growth to slow in the first half of this year as China’s domestic demand continues to decline due to slowing property and weak consumption.”

Customs data showed that iron ore imports, a key component of China’s steel production, declined a month ago due to steel production restrictions and a slowdown in property construction.

Total exports grew by 29.9 percent in 2021, up from 3.6 percent in 2020. During the year, imports rose 30.1 percent after falling 1.1 percent in 2020.

EXHIBITION SHOW

China’s exports exceeded expectations for the bulk of 2021, but shipments slowed due to rising demand for goods abroad and high costs for exporters.

It was unknown how the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant would affect this trend.

Zhang Zhivey, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, said in a note that Chinese exports may have benefited from Omicron’s disruption in other countries ’supply chains.

“We expect China’s exports to be stable in the first quarter as stable global demand and pandemics intensify in many developing countries. At present, strong exports may be the only factor that will help the Chinese economy, ”Zhang said.

China’s deputy trade minister said on Dec. 30 that the country will face unprecedented challenges in stabilizing foreign trade in 2022 as other exporters increase production and it is less convenient to compare.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang in late December as saying that the country would develop additional policies to help exporters and ease the pressure on international logistics problems.

Interviews by Shen Yan, Albi Zhang and Gabriel Crossley; Edited by Ana Nicolas da Costa

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