China Trade Balance March 2019


China: Exports rebound in March

April 12, 2019

In March, exports expanded 14.2% over the same month last year, which contrasted the 20.8% drop in February. The print exceeded the 7.3% increase that market analysts had expected. Despite the rebound in March, analysts warn that it partially reflects the fading effect of the Chinese New Year holidays.

Imports declined 7.6% in annual terms in March, following the 5.2% drop recorded in February. The reading was below the 1.3% decline that market analysts had forecast and the weakest result in nearly three years.

As a result of the sharp decline in imports, the trade balance swung from a USD 5.8 billion deficit in March 2018 to a USD 32.6 billion surplus in March 2019 (February: USD 4.0 billion surplus). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus rose from USD 344 billion in February to USD 383 billion in March.

China Trade Balance Forecast

Our panelists forecast that exports will expand 1.8% in 2019 and imports will rise 2.0%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 352 billion. In 2020, FocusEconomics panelists expect exports will expand 4.1%, while imports will rise 5.5%, bringing down the trade surplus to USD 336 billion.


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China Trade Balance Chart

China Trade12m March 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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