China: Coronavirus shock on trade eases in March
April 14, 2020
In March, exports declined 6.6% over the same month in the previous year, following the 17.2% drop in the January-February period. The print, however, was better than the 15.9% drop that market analysts had expected.
Meanwhile, imports declined 0.9% in annual terms in March. The print followed the 4.0% contraction in the January-February period and was above the 10.0% drop that market analysts had projected.
As a result of the sharp drop in exports, the trade surplus fell from USD 31.5 billion in March 2019 to USD 19.9 billion in March 2020 (January-February 2020: USD 7.1 billion deficit). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus fell from USD 373 billion in January-February to USD 362 billion in March.
That said, the outlook remains bleak for the external sector in China as the coronavirus pandemic is now hitting some of the country’s main trade partners.