China: Export growth surges in September despite escalating U.S.-China trade tensions
Export growth accelerated from 9.8% in August to 14.5% in September. The reading surprised market analysts as they had expected a slowdown to an 8.9% rise. The surge in export growth likely reflected a hike of the export tax rebate rates for selected products effective 15 September as well as front-loading shipments to the United States before the implementation of additional tariffs on USD 200 billion of Chinese products by the United States on 25 September.
Although imports expanded at double-digit figures for the seventh consecutive month, import growth softened from 20.0% in August to 14.3% in September. The print was below the 15.0% rise that market analysts had expected and reflected weaker domestic demand.
The trade surplus consequently rose from USD 28.5 billion in September 2017 to USD 31.7 billion in September 2018 (August 2018: USD 27.9 billion). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus increased from USD 350 billion in August to USD 355 billion in September.