China Trade Balance October 2019


China: Drop in exports softens in October

November 8, 2019

In October, exports fell 0.9% over the same month last year, overshooting both the 3.2% drop recorded in September and the 3.6% contraction expected by market analysts.

Meanwhile, imports fell 6.4% in annual terms in October, an improvement from both September’s 8.3% drop and the 8.9% decline that market analysts had projected.

As a result of the softer fall in exports and still-sharp decrease in imports, the trade surplus rose to USD 42.8 billion in October 2019 from USD 33.0 billion in October 2018 (September 2019: USD 39.2 billion surplus). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus increased to USD 439 billion from USD 429 billion in September.

October’s result came as China and the United States appear to be close to signing a “phase one” trade agreement, which could include removing some of the existing tariffs. The lack of details on both the potential trade deal and removal of some tariffs, however, raise questions about how much progress has really been made.

Our panelists forecast that exports will expand 0.9% in 2020 and imports will rise 2.1%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 368 billion. In 2021, FocusEconomics panelists expect exports will expand 4.2%, while imports will rise 3.9%, increasing the trade surplus to USD 391 billion.

Author: Ricard Torné, Head of Data Analysis

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China Trade Balance Chart

China Trade12m October 2019

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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