China Trade Surplus Largest in 11 Months


China's trade surplus widened to USD 44.74 billion in November of 2018 from USD 38.43 billion in the same month a year earlier and easily beating market consensus of USD 34 billion. It was the largest trade surplus since December 2017, as exports rose at a faster 5.4 percent year-on-year while imports went up by 3.0 percent.

Exports increased 5.4 percent year-on-year, much slower than a 15.6  percent rise in October and missing market consensus of a 10.0 percent gain. It marked the slowest growth in outbound shipments since a decline in March, amid softening global demand and uncertainty over a resolution to trade tensions with the US. Still, China's unwrought aluminium and aluminium product exports surged 41.1 percent year-on-year to 536,000 tonnes in November, and was up 11.7 percent month-on-month from a downwardly revised 480,000 tonnes in September. China is the world's top producer of steel and aluminium. The US has imposed tariffs of 25 percent on Chinese steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium imports since March 23rd. However, a lower yuan has helped Chinese metal exports. In addition, sales of rice surged 67.1 percent to 249 million tonnes. In contrast, exports of steel product fell 1 percent year-on-year to 5.3 million tonnes in November and dropped 3.7 percent from October's 5.35 million tonnes. Still, Chinese aluminium exports are expected to surge in coming months after Beijing boosted tax rebates for exports of semi-fabricated aluminium, or semis, to 16 percent from 13 percent starting from 1st November. Also, sales of crude oil plummeted 69.2 percent year-on-year to 0.26 million tonnes; and coal declined 8.1 percent to 0.69 million tonnes.

Imports rose 3.0 percent, far lower than a 21.4 percent growth in October and way below expectations of a 14.5 percent rise. It was the weakest increase in inbound shipments since October 2016. Purchases of crude oil increased 17.7 percent year-on-year to a fresh record high of 42.61 million tonnes, and rose 4.8 percent from October's 40.64 million tonnes. Also, arrivals of natural gas grew 39.8 percent year-on-year to 9.15 million tonnes, and went up 25.6 percent from October's 7.29 million tonnes. In contrast, China's unwrought copper imports declined 3.0 percent from a year earlier to 456,000 tonnes, but grew 8.6 percent from October's 420,000 tonnes. Also, imports of copper concentrate fell 4.6 percent to 1.70 million tonnes, but was up 8.9 percent from a month earlier of 1.56 million tonnes. In addition, purchases of iron ore were down 8.8 percent year-on-year to 86.25 million tonnes, and decreased 2.4 percent from October's 88.39 million tonnes. At the same time, imports of soybeans plunged 38.0 percent year-on-year to 5.38 million tonnes, and were down 22.2 percent from October's 6.92 million tonnes, as buyers avoided US soybeans amid ongoing trade row.

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, widened to a fresh record high of USD 35.55 billion in October from USD 31.78 billion in September. Exports to the country rose 9.8 percent year-on-year and 8.2 percent month-over-month, while imports plummeted 25 percent compared to the same month a year ealier and 2.5 percent month-over-month. Over the first eleven months of the year, the trade surplus with the US widened markedly to USD 293.53 billion from USD 251.26 billion in the same period a year earlier.

In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 306.04 billion in November, as exports grew at a faster 10.2 percent, while exports went up 7.8 percent.

China Trade Surplus Largest in 11 Months


Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com
12/10/2018 12:08:51 PM