Some Relief for China as Trade Surplus Widens

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

Export growth unexpectedly jumped more than forecast and import growth slowed more than expected in September, leaving China with yet another massive trade surplus.

Figures from the country’s customs administration showed a 28.1% jump in exports to $US305.74 billion in September from the same month in 2020.

It was the 15th straight month of growth in exports.

Imports to China grew by an annual 17.6% in September to $US240 billion, less than market estimates of 20% and after almost half the pace of August’s 33.1% jump.

The slower growth in imports was helped by a 15% slide in the volume of oil imports, although gas imports hit a 9-month high. Iron ore imports were down 2% in the month, but prices were down by 30% or more, depending on grades. Copper imports rose as global prices eased.

This was the twelfth straight month of expansion in inbound shipments, as domestic demand stutters in the face of scattered Covid cases, power rationing and bad weather.

That left China with a monthly trade surplus of $US66.76 billion in September, far above market consensus of $US46.8 billion and $US35.45 billion in the same month a year earlier.

It was the largest trade surplus since December.

The trade surplus with the United States widened to $US42 billion from $US37.68 billion in August.

The total value of China’s imports and exports was up 22.7% to $US4.38 trillion in the first 9 months (three quarters) of 2021.

The total value was increase of 23.4% from the first 9 months of pre-epidemic 2019, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.

Exports and imports saw double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year, surging 22.7% and 22.6% from the same period of 2020.

For the first 9 months of 2021, China’s trade surplus was $US280 billion, up from $US238 billion in the same period of 2020.

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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