China foreign trade results better than expected

  • Economy
  • Wednesday, 09 Sep 2020

Exports up 11.6% in August, backed by new growth engines

BEIJING: Despite global economic uncertainties amid the Covid-19 pandemic, China’s foreign trade has maintained better-than-expected performance since the second quarter of this year, with trade in services, cross-border e-commerce and private sector transactions emerging as new growth engines, according to government officials and economic analysts.

In August alone, the country’s exports surged by 11.6%, with imports dipping only 0.5%, according to the General Administration of Customs.

The easing of lockdowns by China’s major trading partners has helped drive China’s export growth recently, while the country’s surging shipments to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and exports of anti-epidemic materials also powered the growth momentum last month, said Yu Jianlong, secretary-general of the China Chamber of International Commerce.

China’s foreign trade with Asean, now the country’s largest trading partner, jumped 7% year-on-year to 2.93 trillion yuan (US$428.9bil) from January to August.

The country’s trade with the European Union, its second-largest trading partner, grew by 1.4% on a yearly basis to 2.81 trillion yuan during the same period.

China is fully able to obtain a stable growth rate in foreign trade and help facilitate global economic recovery this year, thanks to the sustainable and stable improvement in trading activities in recent months and the country’s fast-growing trade in services and other business sectors, such as e-commerce, according to Chen Wenling, chief economist at the Beijing-based China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.

China’s total foreign trade volume of goods reached 20.05 trillion yuan in the first eight months, down 0.6% year-on-year. The drop narrowed by 1.1 percentage points compared with the decline from January to July, according to Customs officials.

Whether this growth momentum can be sustained depends to a large extent on efforts in other parts of the world to contain the pandemic.

If a second wave of the contagion occurs, it would definitely delay their economic recovery and affect China’s external demand, said Sang Baichuan, an economics professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Fortunately, China’s private companies, with more innovation input, are developing fast and taking a more important role in boosting the country’s foreign trade, according to Sang.

Customs officials said the imports and exports of China’s private companies reached 9.21 trillion yuan from January to August, up 8.5% year-on-year, accounting for 45.9% of the country’s total foreign trade volume.

Zhang Wenxing, a production manager at Guizhou Zhuyun Paper Product Co in Guizhou province, said that exports as a proportion of his company’s total business had risen from 70% to 90% in the first eight months of this year.

Due to the spread of the Covid-19, as many foreign manufacturers in the paper business have either suspended their production or shut down their factories to avoid health risks, the Chinese firm saw its global orders surge 30% this year.

The company has its factories booked through November. — China Daily

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