China Trade Balance


China: Trade balance records largest surplus in five years in 2013

January 10, 2014

In December, exports rose 4.3% over the same month of the previous year, which was well below the 12.7% increase recorded in November and undershot market expectations of a 5.0% rise. In the full year 2013, exports expanded 7.9% to USD 2.2 trillion, which was just slightly under the 8.0% rise tallied in 2012.

Imports expanded 8.3% annually in December, which marks an acceleration over the 5.3% rise recorded in November. The expansion came in above market expectations of a 7.0% increase. According to analysts, December's healthy expansion, which was the strongest in five months, suggests that domestic demand is supporting the country's growth. In the full year 2013, imports expanded 7.2% to USD 1.95 trillion, beating the 4.3% increase recorded in 2012.

The trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 25.6 billion in December, which was below the USD 31.0 billion surplus recorded in the same month of the previous year. The December trade balance surplus undershot market expectations of USD 32.2 billion. In the full year 2013, the trade surplus reached USD 261 billion, exceeding the USD 231 billion tallied in 2012 and marking the largest trade surplus since 2008.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will grow 8.7% in 2014 (USD 2.4 trillion), while the trade surplus will reach USD 263 billion. For 2015, the panel expects exports to increase 9.0% and the trade surplus to widen to USD 279 billion.


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China Trade12m December 2013

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