China Trade Balance December 2019


China: Trade data improves significantly in December

January 14, 2020

In December, exports rose 7.9% over the same month in 2019, contrasting the 1.3% drop in November. Moreover, the print represented the strongest expansion in nine months and overshot the 2.9% rise that market analysts had expected.

Meanwhile, imports jumped 16.3% in annual terms in December, following the 0.5% rise in November and marking the fastest expansion in 14 months. Moreover, the print was above the 9.6% rise that market analysts had projected.

As a result of the faster expansion in imports, the trade surplus fell from USD 56.8 billion in December 2018 to USD 46.8 billion in December 2019 (November 2019: USD 37.9 billion surplus). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus fell to USD 425 billion from USD 435 billion in November.

The improvement likely reflected optimism regarding the signature of the phase one trade deal between China and the United States, manufacturers replenishing their inventories at year-end and a low base from the previous year.

Our panelists forecast that exports will expand 1.5% in 2020 and imports will rise 2.6%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 393 billion. In 2021, FocusEconomics panelists expect exports will expand 2.9%, while imports will rise 3.7%, leaving the trade surplus at USD 388 billion.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Trade Balance Chart

China Trade12m December 2019 0

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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