China September Trade Surplus Smallest in 6 Months


China's trade surplus fell sharply to USD 28.61 billion in September of 2017 from USD 40.94 billion in the same month a year earlier and below market consensus of USD 39.50 billion. It was the smallest trade surplus since March, as imports jumped.

Imports jumped 18.6 percent from the previous year to USD 169.79 billion in September, beating market expectations of a 13.5 percent expansion and accelerating from 13.3 percent in August. It marked the eleventh straight month of growth in inbound shipments and the fastest in six months, boosted by industrial resources such as steel, copper, iron ore and coal. The country's iron ore imports rose to a record 103 million tonnes, and copper imports were the highest since March. Also, imports of soybean rose 12.7 percent to 8.1 million tonnes, boosted by faster-than-expected loading of beans in South America.

Exports rose 8.1 percent to USD 198.26 billion, below forecasts of 8.8 percent but beating August's 5.5 percent. 

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, widened to the largest on record of USD 28.1 billion, as exports to the country rose 13.8 percent to hit an all-time high of USD 40.9 billion while imports grew 15.5 percent to USD 12.9 billion. Also, the trade surplus with the EU was USD 9.2 billion, with exports rising by 10.4 percent and imports by 30.9 percent; and that with ASEAN countries was USD 1.9 billion, as exports advanced 10.8 percent and imports 20.2 percent. Meanwhile, the biggest trade deficit was recorded with Taiwan (USD 11.3 billion, with exports increasing 24.7 percent and imports 17.8 percent), followed by South Korea (USD 8.3 billion, with exports increasing 12.4 percent and imports 20.6 percent), Australia (USD 4.8 billion, with exports increasing 1.3 percent and imports 29 percent) and Japan (USD 3.9 billion, with exports showing no growth and imports rising 17.8 percent). China's imports from North Korea dropped for a seven stright month in September, falling 37.9 percent year-on-year, as Beijing implemented the latest UN trade sanctions; and exports shrank 6.7 percent.

Considering January to September 2017, the trade surplus came in at USD 302.14 billion, down from a USD 379.01 billion surplus in the same period the preceding year. China's January-Septemper trade surplus with the US was USD 195.54 billion.

In yuan-denominated terms, exports increased by 9.0 percent from a year earlier in September, following a 6.9 percent rise in August. Inbound shipments rose 19.5 percent, after growing 14.4 percent in the prior month. 

Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
10/23/2017 11:24:51 AM