China: Export and import growth eases in January–February
Merchandise exports rose 16.3% in January–February in annual terms (December: +20.9% year-on-year). The result beat market expectations. Meanwhile, merchandise imports shot up 15.5% in January–February (December: +19.5% yoy), but came in below market expectations. The trade surplus in the first two months of the year was USD 116 billion.
Looking forward, the conflict in Ukraine and local lockdowns in China in response to surging Covid-19 cases pose risks to both exports and imports, due to the potential implications for domestic and external demand, and supply chains.
On the reading and outlook, analysts at Nomura commented:
“Exports are still performing well in China, but real export growth could continue slowing as most other countries continue to shift to a ‘living with Covid’ approach. As the contribution from exports to GDP growth continues to decline this year, we believe Beijing will have to significantly ramp up policy support to achieve its GDP growth target of ‘around 5.5%’.”