China Trade Surplus Narrows in May


China trade surplus stood at USD49.98 billion in May of 2016, down from USD58.87 billion reported a year earlier and below market estimates, as exports fell worse than expected while imports dropped much less than in a month earlier.

In May, exports declined by 4.1 percent year-on-year to USD181.06 billion, following a 1.8 percent drop in the preceding month and market consensus of a 3.6 percent drop. Imports dropped  by 0.4 percent to USD131.08 billion while markets expected a 6.0 percent fall. It is the 19th straight month of contraction, as a result of declining commodity prices and weak demand. In April 2016, the country registered a USD45.56 billion trade surplus.

From January to May 2016, exports dropped by 7.3 percent from the same period a year earlier. Outbound shipments declined for: Chinese herbal and medicine (-13,6 percent), coke and semi-coke (-36.7 percent), crude (-67.2 percent), refined oil (-7.1 percent), mineral fertilizer (-42.4 percent), clothing & accessories (-3.6 percent), footwear (-8.7 percent), ceramic (-13.5 percent), precious metals (-13.9 percent), steel (-22.4 percent), unwrought aluminium and aluminium (-18.2 percent), handheld wireless phone & its parts (-12.4 percent), automatic data processing equipment and parts (-14.5 percent), shipping (-25.0 percent), LCD panel (-17.0 percent), furniture & parts (-9.9 percent) and lamps, lighting fixture (-9.3 percent). In contrast, Sales rose for: rice (+35.1 percent), coal & ignite (+49.1 percent), plastics (+0.9 percent), integrated circuit (+10.7 percent) and toys (+11.0 percent). Exports were down to: Hong Kong (-4.7 percent), Japan (-6.6 percent), South Korea (-8.7 percent), Taiwan (-10.7 percent), the ASEAN countries (-20.8 percent), the EU countries (-5.6 percent), Russia (-39.3 percent), South Africa (-11.8 percent), the US (-9.6 percent), Australia (-5.3 percent) and New Zealand (-7.7 percent). In contrast, outbound shipments rose to India (+2.5 percent).

Imports decreased by 10.3 percent year-on-year. Purchases from most of the country's trading partners declined except Hong Kong, Vietnam and Brazil. Those from India fell by 18.3 percent, followed by Japan (-5.1 percent), South Korea (-11.3 percent), Taiwan (-2.7 percent), the ASEAN countries (-14.0 percent) and the EU countries (-5.2 percent). Purchases also dropped from the US (-12.8 percent), South Africa (-26.8 percent), Australia (-19.3 percent) and New Zealand (-0.2 percent). In contrast,  imports rose from Hong Kong (+146.8 percent), Vietnam (+15.1 percent) and Brazil (+17.3 percent). 

General Administration of Customs l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
6/8/2016 5:17:55 AM