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China Trade Balance April 2022

China: Merchandise exports increase at a more moderate rate in April

Merchandise exports climbed 3.9% over the same month last year in April (March: +14.6% year-on-year), weakened by factory shutdowns and logistical difficulties as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. The result marked the softest increase since June 2020. Meanwhile, merchandise imports were broadly stable over the same month last year in April, as in March, with higher import prices offsetting weak domestic demand.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 51.1 billion surplus in April (March 2022: USD 47.1 billion surplus; April 2021: USD 40.9 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed up, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 740.2 billion surplus in April, compared to the USD 729.9 billion surplus in March.

On the outlook, analysts at Nomura said:

“We expect export growth in USD terms to drop further to 0.0% in May, and potentially into negative territory thereafter, due to the current Omicron wave, the stringent Covid containment measures, falling external demand and the loss of new export orders to other regions. Since exports have been the single largest growth driver since the spring of 2020, a sharp slowdown in export growth would substantially increase the downward pressure on GDP growth and make achieving the ‘around 5.5%’ GDP growth target for 2022 increasingly difficult.”

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