China Trade Balance August 2018


China: Export growth cools in August amid escalating U.S.-China trade tensions

September 10, 2018

Export growth slowed to 9.8% year-on-year in August, down from the 12.2% increased registered in July. The figure fell shy of market expectations of a 10.0% increase. The softer print suggests that escalating U.S.-China trade tensions are beginning to weigh on China’s external sector.

Meanwhile, import growth eased to 20.0% in August from July’s robust 27.3% growth rate. Weaker domestic demand as well as less frontloading of import shipments likely weighed on the print.

The trade surplus consequently fell to USD 27.9 billion in August, from USD 40.0 billion the same month a year prior (July 2018: USD 28.1 billion surplus). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus dropped to USD 351 billion in August from USD 363 billion in July, the lowest figure in nearly four years.

China Trade Balance Forecast

FocusEconomics panelists expect exports to expand 8.7% in 2018 and imports to rise 13.5%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 367 billion. In 2019, exports are expected to increase 6.0% and imports to increase 7.8%, with a trade surplus of USD 350.0 billion.


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China Trade Balance Chart

China Trade12m August 2018

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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