China Trade July 2016


Imports expand for first time in nearly two years in August

Exports fell 2.8% annually in August, which marked a much more moderate contraction than both the 4.4% drop recorded in July and the 4.0% decline the markets had expected.

Meanwhile, imports expanded 1.5% annually in August, which contrasted both the 12.5% drop recorded in July and the 5.4% contraction that market analysts had expected. August’s print represented the first expansion since October 2014.

Due to the unexpected expansion in imports, the trade surplus declined from USD 59.7 billion in August 2015 to USD 52.0 billion in August this year. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus decreased from July’s USD 610 billion to USD 602 billion in August.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will contract 2.3% in 2016, while imports will decrease 4.5%, driving the trade balance to a surplus of USD 622 billion. For 2017, the panel expects exports to increase 2.1% and imports to rise 1.5%, while the trade surplus will widen further to USD 644 billion.

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China Trade Chart

China Trade12m August 2016

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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