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China Trade Balance May 2019

China: Exports rebound slightly in May

In May, exports rose 1.1% over the same month last year, which contrasted the 2.7% decline in April. The print also contrasted the 3.9% decrease that market analysts had expected.

Despite May’s increase, Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ, warns that:

“The better-than-expected exports in May, which could have been helped by a depreciation in the CNY and front-loading of shipments amid fears of higher US tariffs, do not change our overall cautious view on China’s export look for 2019.”

Imports fell 8.5% in annual terms in May, contrasting the 4.0% increase in April. The reading undershot the 3.5% decline that market analysts had forecast.

About the sharp decline in imports, Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ, points out that:

“The weakness in May imports was due to a decline in global oil prices, softness in major commodity imports as well as mechanical and electrical imports.”

As a result of the sharp decrease in imports, the trade surplus rose from USD 23.4 billion in May 2018 to USD 41.7 billion in May 2019 (April: USD 13.8 billion surplus). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus increased from USD 369 billion in April to USD 387 billion in May.

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