China Trade


Exports contract again in August; trade surplus widens

In August, exports fell 5.5% over the same month last year, which followed the 8.3% decline tallied in July. August’s contraction was above the 6.6% decrease that market analysts had expected. Imports fell 13.8% annually in August, which was below the 8.1% decline tallied in July. August's plunge was worse than the 7.9% drop that market analysts had expected.

As a result of the sharp drop in imports, the trade surplus widened to USD 60.2 billion in August (July: USD 43.0 billion) from USD 49.8 billion in the same month last year. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus rose from USD 537 billion in July to USD 547 billion in August, hitting an all-time high.

The government expects total merchandise trade to expand 6.0% this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will grow 2.6% in 2015, while imports will decrease 6.6%, thus driving the trade balance to a surplus of USD 573 billion. For 2016, the panel expects exports to increase 7.1% and imports to rise 6.3%, while the trade surplus will widen to USD 628 billion.

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China Trade Chart

China Trade12m August 2015 0

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports in %.
Source: General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China and FocusEconomics calculations.

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