China to see robust export growth in 2021: UK think tank

China COSCO Shipping's Zhongyuantaicang container ship, with a tonnage exceeding 10,000 tons, docks at the Beibu Gulf Port in Qinzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. -Photo provided to China Daily

LONDON, Xinhua, Jan 15: Ended 2020 on a positive note, China's exports are expected to see continued growth in 2021 amid positive global economic outlook, a study released by the British thinktank Oxford Economics said Thursday.

The study was issued as China's official data showed earlier in day that the country's total goods imports and exports expanded 1.9 percent year-on-year to 32.16 trillion yuan ($5 trillion) in 2020, hitting a record high despite a worldwide slump in shipments.

In December alone, exports surged by 10.9 percent year-on-year in yuan terms, according to figures released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

"Exports ended 2020 on a positive note, registering strong y/y growth in December and for Q4 (the Fourth Quarter) as a whole," said the Oxford Economics, adding that demand for high tech and other electronic products also picked up in Q4.

"Looking ahead, current trends and the positive global economic outlook imply robust export growth in 2021," said the thinktank.

China emerged from the global economic and trade challenges in 2020 as the world's only major economy to have registered positive growth in foreign trade in goods, GAC spokesperson Li Kuiwen told a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

During the first 10 months of last year, the country's foreign trade and exports accounted for 12.8 percent and 14.2 percent of the world's total, respectively, both reaching historic highs, Li said, citing data from the World Trade Organization and available national statistics.

The Oxford Economics said it believes that the outlook for exports in China remains positive, given the favourable global growth forecast, and "the return to global economic growth should underpin solid export growth in 2021."

Apart from the exports, the British thinktank also said that import growth picked up in December too, resulting in faster growth in Q4 compared to the previous quarter.

"We think goods imports will expand significantly in 2021, underpinned by strong domestic demand," said the thinktank, noting that it "anticipate imports of capital goods will outperform those of commodities (in 2021)."

The Chinese economy is expected to grow by 2 percent in 2020, the World Bank Group said in its latest Global Economic Prospects. The reading is low given China's stellar record, but will still make the country the only major economy to emerge with positive growth.

"With little sign of another COVID wave, the Chinese economy is firmly recovering from the pandemic shock, based on the November 2020 edition of the National Institute of Economic Review," Mao Xuxin, principal economist at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a London-based economic thinktank, told Xinhua.

Mao said that there are three main forces behind the Chinese economic recovery from the second quarter of 2020, including the rise in industrial production, exports increase supported by the high demand for medical and electronic products, and the recovering business confidence across the factory and services.

Asked about the economic outlook of the country in 2021, Mao said China's economy is projected to grow by more than 7 percent, adding that "the 'dual circulation' strategy (in which domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other with the domestic market being the mainstay) unveiled in 2020 will reduce China's heavy dependence on global high-tech products and move it up in the global value chain."

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