China Trade Surplus Narrows In April


China's trade surplus fell to USD 38.5 billion in April of 2017 from USD 39.16 billion surplus a year earlier but above market consensus of a USD 35.50 billion surplus, as exports rose less than imports.

In April, sales grew by 8.0 percent from a year earlier to USD 180 billion, slowing from a 16.4 percent rise in the prior month while market expected a 10.4 percent gain. 

Purchases went up 11.9 percent to USD 141.9 billion, after a 20.3 percent increase in a month earlier and below market estimates of a 18.0 percent rise.

In yuan-denominated terms, exports increased by 14.3 percent from a year earlier, compared to a 22.3 percent rise in March. Inbound shipments rose 18.6 percent, following a 26.3 percent gain in the prior month. 
In March 2017, trade surplus stood at USD 23.9 billion.  

Considering the first four months of 2017, total trade in USD went up 13.6 percent from a year earlier. Outbound shipments rose 8.1 percent, driven by rice (79.4 percent), coal and ignite (50.2 percent), coke (81.0 percent), crude (136.3 percent), refined oil (49.5 percent), plastic products (14.2 percent), footwear (7.5 percent), ceramic products (8.4 percent), precious metal and metal jewelry (5.5 percent), steel (11.9 percent), handheld radiotelephones and parts (11.3 percent), integrated circuit (3.8 percent), automatic data processing (7.5 percent), car and car chassis (20.3 percent), automobile parts (6.8 percent), ship (12.9 percent), liquid crystal (5.2 percent) and furniture (4.2 percent). In contrast, sales fell for herbal medicine (-1.7 percent). Exports were higher to India (17.9 percent), Japan (6.9 percent), South Korea (14.3 percent), Taiwan (9.9 percent), ASEAN countries (11.6 percent), the EU countries (7.1 percent), South Africa (12.8 percent), Brazil (32.4 percent), Russia (22.0 percent), the US (11.0 percent), Australia (10.4 percent) and New Zealand (9.4 percent). In contrast, sales declined to Hong Kong (-2.7 percent).

Imports jumped 20.8 percent, mainly due to soybeans (33.7 percent), edible vegetable oil (17.5 percent), iron (78.4 percent), copper ore (25.8 percent), coal and ignite (146.8 percent), crude (69.8 percent), refined oil (33.4 percent), primary shape of plastics (23.0 percent), natural and synthetic rubber (97.8 percent), logs and sawn (20.8 percent), timber (21.5 percent), textile yarn (13.9 percent), integrated circuit (6.7 percent), car and car chassis (9.6 percent) and automobile parts (17.0 percent). In contrast, purchases declined for: mineral fertilizer (-7.1 percent), steel (-4.6 percent) and metalworking machine tools (-11.8 percent). Japan was the main import partner (45.5 percent), followed by the ASEAN countries (25.0 percent),  the US (19.9 percent), the EU countries (12.3 percent), South Korea (11.1 percent),Taiwan (12.1 percent) and Australia (69.8 percent). 

In the near future, China's exports and imports are projected to stabilise and improve, the Ministry of Commerce said in its recent quarterly report. The country's foreign trade is expected to face a better environment compared with the past two years.

General Administration of Customs of China | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
5/8/2017 10:31:57 AM