China Trade Surplus Widens As Exports Expand, Imports Slip

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

China’s exports rose at the fastest pace in seven months in July, while imports fell, painting a mixed picture for the economy as it recovers from its pandemic-induced slump.

That saw China’s trade surplus widen sharply to a near-record $US62.33 billion in July 2020 from $US44.02 billion in the same month the previous year and far more than market expectations of a $US42 billion surplus.

Exports unexpectedly surged by 7.2% year on year defying market consensus of a 0.2% fall. That was after a 0.5% dip in June.
Imports fell 1.4% to $US175.3 billion, also missing estimates of a rise of 1% and 1.4% in June.

July, China’s exports rose to $US237.6 billion, accelerating from June’s 3% gain.

The country’s export performance was again boosted by record shipments of medical supplies while there was robust demand for electronic products.

Imports of industrial commodities remained solid, with record imports of iron ore and copper, along with a sharp jump in crude oil for yet another month.

A pressure point on the trade front however has been rocky US-China relations, with tensions expected to escalate ahead of the United State’s presidential election.

China’s trade surplus with the United States widened to $US32.46 billion in July from $US29.41 billion in June.

Sales to the US jumped 12.5% to $US43.7 billion despite the weakening in American economic activity and a lingering tariff war with Washington which steps up this week with a video meeting between officials from the two countries. Imports from America rose by 3.6% to $US11.3 billion.

Import volumes of industrial raw materials remained robust, with record imports of iron ore and copper, along with a sharp jump in crude oil.

Among major trade partners, imports were down from Australia (-7.2%), but increased from Taiwan (16.6%), ASEAN (3.1%), Japan (5.1%), South Korea (4.8%) and the US (3.6%).

Exports were boosted by record shipments of medical supplies and robust demand for electronic products. Exports though fell for major commodities such as refined products, unwrought aluminum, and products, steel products, rare earths, and grains.

Among major trade partners, exports were up to the US (12.5%), ASEAN (14.1%), Australia (15.8%), Taiwan (3.9%), and South Korea (1.2%).

Exports to Japan fell 2.0%.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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