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China Trade March 2023

China: Export growth soars in November

In November, exports expanded 21.1% over the same month in the previous year, following October’s 11.4% rise. Moreover, the print exceeded the 12.0% expansion that market analysts had expected and represented the fastest expansion in nearly three years.

Meanwhile, import growth decelerated from 4.7% in October to 4.5% in November. The print was below the 6.1% expansion that market analysts had projected.

As a result of the stronger expansion in exports, the trade surplus rose from USD 37.2 billion in November 2019 to USD 75.4 billion in November 2020 (October 2020: USD 58.4 billion surplus). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus jumped from USD 469 billion in October to USD 507 billion in November.

The surge in exports came as a surprise, as the yuan remains strong against the USD and the reimplementation of lockdowns among some export destinations. That said, some economists warn the current trend in exports is not sustainable. As Iris Pang, Greater China Chief Economist at ING comments: “Shipments squeezed in before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays generated a jump in exports from China. We don’t expect this to be a trend because the low import growth of just 4.5% YoY means that many exports in coming months should have been fulfilled in November’s shipments.”

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