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China: Trade data improve markedly in September

October 13, 2014

In September, exports increased 15.3% over the same month last year, which was an acceleration over the 9.4% expansion tallied in August. The print beat the 12.0% increase that market analysts had expected and represented the fastest pace of growth since February 2013. Imports rebounded in September, rising 7.0% annually, which contrasted the 2.4% drop observed in the previous month. The monthly increase topped the 3.0% expansion that market analysts had expected and marked a seven-month high.

Although the trade surplus narrowed from August’s all-time record of USD 49.8 billion to USD 30.9 billion in September, it was well above the USD 14.5 billion recorded in the same month last year. The print undershot market expectations of a USD 41.1 billion surplus. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus rose from USD 305 billion in August to USD 321 billion in September, which represented the highest level on record.

The healthy export figures tallied in recent months are likely to ease concerns about a sharp slowdown in the Chinese economy. That said, analysts warn that despite the strong rebound in imports, domestic demand remains weak. In addition, large trade surpluses continue to add appreciation pressure on the yuan.

The government set the growth target for the total volume of exports and imports at 7.5% for this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will grow 6.6% in 2014 (USD 2.4 trillion) and they see the trade surplus reaching USD 271 billion. For 2015, the panel expects exports to increase 8.8% and the trade surplus to widen to USD 287 billion.


Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Trade Chart


China Trade12m September 2014

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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