China's trade surplus widened to USD 57.06 billion in December 2018 from USD 53.85 billion in the same month a year earlier, above market consensus of a USD 51.53 billion surplus. It was the largest trade surplus since December 2015, as exports fell the most in two years and imports posted the largest drop since July 2016 amid growing disruptions from an escalating trade war with the US and slowing global growth. For full year 2018, China posted a trade surplus of USD 351.76 billion, the lowest since 2013, as exports increased 9.9 percent, its strongest performance in seven years, while imports were up 15.8 percent. The politically-sensitive surplus with the US widened 17.2 percent to USD 323.32 billion last year, the highest on record. Balance of Trade in China averaged 95.81 USD HML from 1981 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 612.86 USD HML in October of 2015 and a record low of -320.02 USD HML in February of 2012.

Balance of Trade in China is expected to be 75.00 USD HML by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Balance of Trade in China to stand at 460.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the China Balance of Trade is projected to trend around 130.00 USD HML in 2020, according to our econometric models.

China Balance of Trade
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Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2018-10-12 02:30 AM Balance of Trade $31.69B $27.89B $19.4B $ 27B
2018-11-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $34.01B $31.7B $35B $29B
2018-12-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $44.74B $34.01B $34.0B $32B
2019-01-14 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $57.06B $41.86B $51.53B $48B
2019-02-14 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $57.06B
2019-03-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade
2019-04-12 03:00 AM Balance of Trade



China Trade Surplus Largest Since 2015

China's trade surplus widened to USD 57.06 billion in December 2018 from USD 53.85 billion in the same month a year earlier, above market consensus of a USD 51.53 billion surplus. It was the largest trade surplus since December 2015, as exports fell the most in two years and imports posted the largest drop since July 2016 amid growing disruptions from an escalating trade war with the US and slowing global growth.

Exports fell 4.4 percent year-on-year to USD 221.2 billion in December, the most in two years, with demand in most of its major markets weakening. The figure came in below market consensus of a 3 percent gain and followed a 5.4 percent increase in November. Coal exports slumped 55.7 percent year-on-year to 0.31 million tonnes and sales of steel products dropped 2 percent to 5.56 million tonnes. 
 
Imports dropped 7.6 percent from a year earlier to USD 164.2 billion in December, the most since July 2016, missing market expectations of a 5 percent growth and following a 3 percent advance in November. Soybean imports fell 40.1 percent year-on-year to 5.72 million tonnes as purchases from the US dropped due the higher tariffs. Also, imports declined for coal (-55.0 percent to 10.23 million tonnes), unwrought copper (-4.7 percent to 429,000 tonnes), and copper ores & concentrates (-11.3 percent to 1.46 million tonnes). On the other hand, imports of iron ore rose 3 percent to 86.65 million tonnes. Natural gas imports jumped 17 percent to hit an all-time high of 9.23 million tonnes, and crude oil imports were 43.78 million tonnes, an increase of 29.9 percent from a year earlier.

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, narrowed to USD 29.87 billion in December from USD 35.55 billion in November. China exports to the US declined 3.5 percent in December while imports were down 35.8 percent for the month.

For full year 2018, China posted a trade surplus of USD 351.76 billion, the lowest since 2013, as exports increased 9.9 percent, its strongest performance in seven years, while imports were up 15.8 percent. China's aluminium exports rose 20.9 percent from a year earlier to a record high of 5.8 million tonnes, while soybean imports fell for the first time since 2011 because of the higher tariffs China levied on US supplies. In addition, coal imports rose to 281.5 million tonnes in 2018, the highest annually since 2014; and unwrought copper imports rose 12.9 percent to a record 5.3 million tonnes. Purchases of natural gas surged 31.9 percent and those of crude oil rose 10.1 percent. Meanwhile, iron ore imports fell for the first time since 2010. China's politically-sensitive surplus with the US widened 17.2 percent to USD 323.32 billion last year, the highest on record going back to 2006.
 
In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 394.99 billion in December,
 as exports edged up 0.2 percent, while imports went down 3.1 percent. Considering 2018 full year, the trade surplus narrowed 18.3 percent to CNY 2.33 trillion as exports rose 7.1 percent to CNY 16.42 trillion and imports 12.9 percent to CNY 14.09 trillion.


General Administration of Customs | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com
1/14/2019 11:00:57 AM



China Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 570.60 418.60 612.86 -320.02 USD HML [+]
Current Account 233.00 53.29 1330.85 -341.00 USD HML [+]
Current Account to GDP 1.30 1.80 10.10 -3.70 percent [+]
Imports 1641.94 1824.70 1949.90 13.88 USD HML [+]
Exports 2212.49 2243.30 2315.23 12.50 USD HML [+]
External Debt 17106.00 14206.57 17799.32 158.28 USD HML [+]
Terms of Trade 99.09 96.48 118.33 81.75 Index Points [+]
Capital Flows 168.00 60.00 725.40 -1305.58 USD HML [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 1349.70 1212.60 1349.70 18.32 USD HML [+]
Tourist Arrivals 2917.00 2815.12 2917.00 22.96 Tens of Thousands [+]
Gold Reserves 1842.60 1842.60 1842.60 395.01 Tonnes [+]
Crude Oil Production 3690.00 3768.00 4408.00 1012.00 BBL/D/1K [+]
Terrorism Index 5.54 6.11 6.29 1.47 [+]
Weapons Sales 1131.00 2192.00 2606.00 3.00 USD Million [+]

Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category



China Balance of Trade

Since 1995, China has been recording consistent trade surpluses which from 2004 to 2009 has increased 10 times. In 2017, China’s total trade incensed by 14.2 percent as exports grew 10.8 percent and imports rose 18.7 percent. The biggest trade surpluses were recorded with Hong Kong, the US, the Netherlands, India, the UK, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. China recorded trade deficits with Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Brazil and South Africa. This page provides - China Balance of Trade - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news. China Balance of Trade - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on January of 2019.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
570.60 418.60 612.86 -320.02 1981 - 2018 USD HML Monthly
Current Prices, NSA




Country Last Previous
Argentina 979.00 Nov/18
Australia 1925.00 Nov/18
Brazil 6639.00 Dec/18
Canada -2060.10 Nov/18
China 570.60 Dec/18
Euro Area 18967.90 Nov/18
France -5099.00 Nov/18
Germany 20500.00 Nov/18
India -13080.00 Dec/18
Indonesia -1102.00 Dec/18
Italy 3843.00 Nov/18
Japan -737.30 Nov/18
Mexico -2382.00 Nov/18
Netherlands 6983.00 Nov/18
Russia 18984.00 Nov/18
Saudi Arabia 184673.00 Sep/18
Singapore 1943.12 Dec/18
South Africa 3494.40 Nov/18
South Korea 4558.00 Dec/18
Spain -3836500.00 Oct/18
Switzerland 3071.48 Nov/18
Turkey -651.36 Nov/18
United Kingdom -2904.00 Nov/18
United States -55488.00 Oct/18


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