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China: Trade data remain weak in May

June 8, 2015

In May, exports fell 2.5% over the same month last year, which followed the 6.4% decline tallied in April. May’s drop was above the 4.4% decrease that market analysts had expected and represented the third consecutive decline. Imports fell 17.6% annually in May, which was below the 16.2% decline tallied in April. The print exceeded the 10.0% drop that market analysts had expected and represented the seventh consecutive contraction.

As a result of the sharp drop in imports, the trade surplus widened to USD 59.5 billion in May (April: USD 34.1 billion) from USD 36.3 billion in the same month last year. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus rose from USD 503 billion in April to USD 527 billion in May, which marks an all-time high.

The government expects total merchandise trade to expand 6.0% this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that merchandise exports will grow 6.7% in 2015, while imports will expand 5.2%, thus driving the trade balance to record a surplus of USD 425 billion. For 2016, the panel expects exports to increase 5.6% and imports to rise 6.1%, while the trade surplus will widen to USD 451 billion.


Author: Ricard Torné, Head of Economic Research

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China Trade Chart


China Trade12m May 2015

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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