China Trade April 2017


China: Export growth slows in April

May 8, 2017

Exports rose 8.0% annually in April, less than half the 16.4% rise in March. The print undershot the 11.3% rise that market analysts had expected. While April’s data corroborates a softening growth momentum in Q2, exports are expected to hold up well throughout the rest of the year due to resilient global demand.

Meanwhile, imports rose 11.9% annually in April, which came in below March’s 20.3% expansion and the 18.0% rise markets had expected. April’s print mostly reflected lower prices for raw materials in the month.

The trade surplus narrowed from USD 39.2 billion in April 2016 to USD 38.0 billion in April 2017. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus decreased from March’s USD 469 billion to USD 468 billion in April, which marked the lowest value since January 2015.

China and the United States announced a set of trade deals on 11 May, which are expected to smooth relations between the two global powers. The new trade deal will promote market access for U.S. beef, natural gas and financial service companies in China. In exchange, China will be able to export poultry to the U.S. Nevertheless, analysts warn that many key trade issues such as steel and aluminum were left untouched.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will expand 2.9% in 2017, while imports will rise 4.8%, driving the trade balance to a surplus of USD 495 billion. For 2018, the panel expects exports to expand 2.3% and imports to increase 2.6%, while the trade surplus will nudge up to USD 502 billion.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Trade Chart

China Trade12m April 2017

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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