China Trade December 2016


China: Exports contract sharply in December

January 13, 2017

Chinese exports fell 6.1% annually in December, following the 1.6% drop recorded in November (previously reported: +0.1% year-on-year). The print exceeded the 4.0% decline that market analysts had expected. Despite the weakening of the yuan, global uncertainties are hitting the all-important external sector.

Meanwhile, imports rose 3.1% annually, which came in below the 4.7% increase recorded in November (previously reported: +6.7% yoy). The print was broadly in line with the 3.0% expansion that market analysts had expected.

As a result of the strong rebound in imports, the trade surplus declined from USD 59.6 billion in December 2015 to USD 40.8 billion in December 2016. In the full year 2016, the trade balance posted a surplus of USD 510 billion, which was below the USD 608 billion surplus in 2015.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will expand 1.2% in 2017, while imports will rise 0.9%, driving the trade balance to a surplus of USD 589 billion. For 2018, the panel expects exports to expand 0.7% and imports to increase 1.5%, while the trade surplus will drop to USD 581 billion.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Trade Chart

China Trade12m December 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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