China Trade March 2016


China: Exports rebound strongly in March

April 13, 2016

Exports in March rebounded and expanded at the fastest pace since February 2015. Exports grew 11.5% annually in March, which sharply contrasted the 25.4% plunge recorded in February. Moreover, the print overshot the 10.0% rise that market analysts had expected. Despite the encouraging reading, the strong rebound mainly reflected a low base of comparison from last year due to the Lunar New Year holidays.

Meanwhile, imports decreased 7.6% annually in March, which followed the 13.8% decline tallied in February. March’s drop was better than the 10.0% fall that market analysts had expected and represented the 17th straight month of contraction, adding to concerns about the state of domestic demand in China.

Although the trade surplus rose from USD 2.5 billion in March 2015 to USD 29.9 billion in March this year, it represented the smallest surplus in a year. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus rose from February’s USD 577 billion to USD 604 billion in March.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will contract 0.8% in 2016, while imports will decrease 2.7%, thus driving the trade balance to a surplus of USD 629 billion. For 2017, the panel expects exports to increase 2.9% and imports to rise 2.0%, while the trade surplus will widen further to USD 661 billion.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Trade Chart

China Trade12m March 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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