China Trade April 2016


China: Exports contract in April following March's strong rebound

May 8, 2016

Exports declined in April as the favorable base effect that propelled growth in March to an over-one-year high faded away. Exports fell 1.8% annually in April, which sharply contrasted the 11.5% rise recorded in March. Moreover, the print undershot the flat reading that market analysts had expected.

Meanwhile, imports decreased 10.9% annually in April, which followed the 7.6% decline tallied in March. April’s drop was worse than the 4.0% fall that market analysts had expected and represented the 18th consecutive month of contraction, adding to concerns about the state of domestic demand in China.

The trade surplus rose from USD 33.2 billion in April 2015 to USD 45.6 billion April this year. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus rose from March’s 603 billion to USD 616 billion in April.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will contract 1.7% in 2016, while imports will decrease 3.5%, thus driving the trade balance to a surplus of USD 623 billion. For 2017, the panel expects exports to increase 2.9% and imports to rise 1.9%, while the trade surplus will widen further to USD 657 billion.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Trade Chart

China Trade12m April 2016

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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