China’s Virus Recovery Accelerates As Trade Data Picks Up In October

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

More evidence the Chinese economy has recovered well from the COVID-19 hit earlier this year.

China’s trade surplus surged to $US58.44 billion in October 2020 from $US42.3 billion in the same month the previous year, and far above market expectations of $US46 billion.

Exports jumped by 11.4% – the biggest monthly rise in 19 months – while imports rose at a softer 4.7%, slowing from the 13.% jump in September.

The country’s trade surplus with the US widened to $US31.37 billion in October from $US30.75 billion in September and $US31.26 billion in October 2019.

October’s surge followed a 9.3% rise in exports in September.

It was the fifth straight month of expansion in outbound shipments, as global demand recovered further from the coronavirus hit.

Sold rises in shipments of medical supplies have supported sales over the past several months while reduced manufacturing capacity in some countries benefited China

Import growth of 4.7% year-on-year in October 2020 was the second straight month of growth in inbound shipments, as domestic demand recovery from the COVID-19 shocks continued.

Imports of iron ore surged 14.9% year on year to 106.74 million tonnes, with arrivals from both Brazil and South Africa increasing.

China’s exports of medical equipment again grew the fastest of any category, up 43% in the first 10 months from a year earlier.

That was followed by exports of textiles, yarn, fabric, and other related goods, which increased by almost 32%.

Meat imports increased more than 75% in the first 10 months (because of the impact of African swine fever in reducing the size of China’s pig herds and pork meat production), while purchases of cosmetics and toiletries rose about 26%.

Imports of grain were up 21%.

Despite the escalating trade dispute with Australia, with China issuing unofficial bans on a growing list of Australian goods from wine and timber to barley and coal, bilateral trade actually rose in October.

Chinese exports to Australia rose 16.6% from October 2019 to $US5.25 billion, while imports from Australia rose 6.6% to $US10.11 billion.

More data from the Customs Administration showed a boost in trade with the US in October as well even as a resurgence in the number of virus cases is expected to dampen the US economic recovery.

Exports to the US rose 22.5% year-on-year in October, while imports grew 32.9% (with imports of soybeans up), according to customs data.

Included in that was the first purchase of poultry meat from the US since 2015 (when it was banned because of bird flu in the US). The data showed $US418 million worth of meat was shipped into China from America last month.

Trade with the European Union, where lockdown measures are returning, fell in October with exports contracting 7% year-on-year and imports only growing a modest 8.4%.

The total volume of China’s imports and exports was just under $US416 billion dollars fin October, down 6% from September but up on a year ago.

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.

View more articles by Glenn Dyer →