Friday February 09 2018
China Inflation Rate at 6-Month Low of 1.5% in January
Statistics China l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's consumer prices rose by 1.5 percent year-on-year in January of 2018, after a 1.8 percent rise in the prior month and matching market consensus. It was the lowest inflation rate since July 2017 as cost of non-food grew at a slower pace and cost of food fell further.

In January, the politically sensitive food prices declined by 0.5 percent (from -0.4 percent in the prior month), while non-food cost rose at a softer 2.0 percent (from 2.4 percent). Cost of consumer goods went up 1.0 percent (from 1.1 percent) and those of services increased by 2.3 percent (from 3.0 percent). 
Among food, prices dropped for: pork (-10.6 percent from -8.3 percent) and fresh vegetables (-5.8 percent from -8.6 percent). In contrast, prices rose for: eggs (14.2 percent from 11.4 percent); milk (0.9 percent from 0.6 percent), fresh fruits (6.4 percent from 6.3 percent) and tobacco (0.1 percent from a flat reading in December 2017).
For non-food, prices increased at a slower pace for most categories: rent, fuel & utilities (2.7 percent from 2.8 percent); household goods and services (1.5 percent from 1.6 percent); transport and communication (0.2 percent from 1.2 percent); education, culture & recreation (0.9 percent from 2.1 percent); healthcare (6.2 percent from 6.6 percent) and other goods and services (1.2 percent from 1.9 percet). Meantime, cost went up more only for clothing (1.4 percent from 1.3 percent).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by  0.6 percent, following a 0.3 percent gain in the preceding month and slightly below estimates of a 0.7 percent rise. It was the highest monthly figure in a year.

The producer price index increased by 4.3 percent from a year earlier in January 2018, compared to a 4.9 percent rise in the prior month, while markets estimated a 4.4 percent gain. It was the 17th straight month of rise in producer prices but the smallest since November 2016. Cost rose less for means of production (5.7 percent from 6.4 percent in December), namely extraction (6.8 percent), raw materials (7.3 percent) and processing (4.9 percent). Also, prices rose at a softer pace for consumer goods (0.3 percent from 0.5 percent) namely daily use goods (1.4 percent); clothing (0.8 percent), while food production was flat. At the same time, prices of consumer durable goods declined at a faster 0.3 percent (from -0.2 percent  in the prior month). On a monthly basis, producer prices rose 0.3 percent, following  a 0.8 percent gain in December 2017.




Thursday February 08 2018
China January Trade Surplus Smaller than Expected
Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 20.34 billion in January 2018 from USD 50.21 billion in the same month a year earlier and way below market consensus of USD 54.1 billion. It was the smallest trade surplus since a rare deficit in February 2017, mainly due to a jump in imports.

Imports jumped 36.9 percent from a year earlier to USD 180.2 billion in January, easily beating market expectations of a 9.8 percent advance and after 4.5 percent in December. Purchases of crude oil hit a record volume of 40.64 million tonnes, compared with 33.7 million tonnes in December, following China's decision to raise its 2018 crude oil import quota for the country's independent refiners by 55 percent over 2017. In addition, imports of iron ore went up 19 percent to 100 million tonnes, the second highest level on record, ahead of the lifting of steel production curbs next month; and purchases of coal rose to a four-year high of 27.81 million tonnes, compared with 22.74 million a month earlier, as heavy snow storms across the country boosted demand at utilities. On the other hand, China's unwrought copper imports fell for a second straight month to 440,000 tonnes in January from December's 450,000 tonnes. Also, imports of gas stood at 7.77 million tonnes, slightly below December's figure of 7.89 million tonnes; and imports of soybeans were at 8.48 million tonnes, down from 9.55 million tonnes in the preceding month.

Exports rose 11.1 percent to USD 200.5 billion, picking up from a 10.9 percent gain in December and also beating market consensus of 9.6 percent. However, Chinese steel exports fell by 18 percent from the previous month and by 37 percent from a year ago to 4.65 million tonnes, the lowest since February 2013.

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, narrowed to USD 21.9 billion from 25.6 billion in December, as exports to the country rose 11.1 percent to USD 37.6 billion while imports grew 26.4 percent to USD 15.7 billion. Also, the trade surplus with the EU was USD 9.9 billion, with exports rising by 10.3 percent and imports by 44.6 percent; and that with ASEAN countries was USD 2.5 billion, as exports advanced 18.4 percent and imports 48.3 percent. Meanwhile, the biggest trade deficit was recorded with Taiwan (USD 10.5 billion, with exports increasing 25.4 percent and imports 41.6 percent), followed by South Korea (USD 8.2 billion, with exports increasing 9.2 percent and imports 28.6 percent), Australia (USD 5.4 billion, with exports increasing 0.1 percent and imports 11.7 percent) and Japan (USD 1.5 billion, with exports increasing 1.4 and imports 37.3 percent).

In yuan-denominated terms, the Chinese trade surplus shrank 59.7 percent from a year earlier to CNY 135.8 billion, as imports surged 30.2 percent to CNY 1.19 trillion while exports increased at a slower 6 percent to CNY 1.32 trillion.

Trade in January and February can be distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday, with business slowing down weeks ahead of time and companies scaling back operations. This year, the holiday falls on February 16th.





Thursday January 18 2018
Chinese GDP Grows 6.9% in 2017
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The Chinese economy expanded 6.8 percent year-on-year in the last quarter of 2017, the same as in the previous three months and beating market expectations of 6.7 percent. Considering full 2017, the economy grew 6.9 percent, well above the official target of near 6.5 percent and a 26-year low of 6.7 percent in 2016. Strong growth in industry and exports and a resilient property market were the main drivers of the expansion. For 2018, the Chinese government targets growth at around 6.5 percent, the same as in 2017 amid efforts to deleverage, contain debt and financial risks.

Considering the fourth quarter of 2017, the primary sector expanded 4.4 percent; the secondary 5.7 percent and the tertiary 8.3 percent. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the GDP advanced 1.6 percent, below an upwardly revised 1.8 percent in the previous three months and the lowest since the first three months of 2017.
 
Considering full 2017,  agriculture went up 3.9 percent, namely production of food (0.3 percent from 2016); cotton (2.7 percent); pork, beef, mutton and poultry (0.8 percent).
 
Industrial output rose 6.6 percent, 0.6 percentage point faster than in 2016. Manufacturing advanced 7.2 percent and electricity, thermal power, gas and water supply 8.1 percent while the mining sector shrank 1.5 percent. The value added of the high-tech industry and equipment manufacturing increased by 13.4 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.
 
The services sector increased 8.2 percent, 0.1 percentage point faster than in 2016.
 
On the expenditure side, final consumption accounted for 58.8 percent of the GDP, with retail sales rising 10.2 percent.
 
Capital formation accounted for 32.1 percent of the GDP with property investment jumping 7 percent, 0.9 percentage point faster than in 2016 and the highest growth since 2014. Investment in residential buildings increased 9.4 percent and in commercial buildings 7.7 percent. On the other hand, fixed asset investment went up 7.2 percent, 0.9 percentage point slower than in 2016 and the lowest growth rate since 1999. Investment rose faster in the high-tech industry (17 percent, 2.8 percentage point higher than in 2016) and equipment manufacturing (8.6 percent, 4.2 percentage points faster in 2016) while investment in energy-intensive manufacturing decreased by 1.8 percent. Private investment went up 6 percent, 2.8 percentage points faster than in 2016 and accounted for 60.4 percent of total investment. Investment by the state holding enterprises rose 10.1 percent.
 
Total trade jumped 14.2 percent, ending two years of declines. Exports increased 10.8 percent and imports 18.7 percent. 




Thursday January 18 2018
China Economy Grows 1.6% QoQ in Q4
National Bureau of Statistics l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's gross domestic product grew by 1.6 percent on quarter in the three months to December of 2017, easing slightly from an upwardly revised 1.8 percent expansion in the previous period and matching market expectations. It was the weakest quarterly growth rate since the first quarter of the year.

Year-on-year,  the economy expanded an annual 6.8 percent, the same as in the prior quarter and slightly above market consensus of a 6.7 percent growth.

For full 2017, the economy grew by 6.9 percent, beating the govermet target of around 6.5 percent and after a 26-year low of 6.7 percent in 2016.





Friday January 12 2018
China Trade Surplus Largest in Nearly 2 Years
Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's trade surplus widened sharply to USD 54.69 billion in December 2017 from USD 40.50 billion in the same month a year earlier and way above market consensus of USD 37.0 billion. It was the largest trade surplus since January 2016, as exports rose more than imports.

In December, exports grew by 10.9 percent year-on-year to a record of USD 231.79 billion. The figure came above market estimates of a 9.1 percent gain, due to sustained global demand. Exports of refined fuel hit record high of 6.17 million tonnes, above the previous peak of 5.79 million tonnes registered in November.  

Imports increased by 4.5 percent to USD 177.10 billion, much slower than a 17.7 percent increase in the preceding month and below expectations of a 13 percent gain. It was the weakest increase in inbound shipments since December 2016. Crude oil imports came in at 33.7 million tonnes in December, or 7.94 million barrels per day, down from November's 9.01 million barrels per day, which is the second-highest level on record. On the other hand, purchases of gas, including pipeline imports and tanker shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), was at 7.89 million tonnes, above November's prior record of 6.55 million tonnes, largely due to winter weather. Meanwhile, Chinese imports of soybeans came in at 9.55 million tonnes, up from 8.60 million tonnes in the preceding month.

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, came in at USD 25.55 billion, compared to USD 27.87 billion in November. 

Considering full 2017, the trade surplus fell 17 percent to USD 422.50 billion. Exports in the period increased by 7.9 percent, the most since 2013. Imports gained 15.9 percent, the most since 2011. Meantime, China's 2017 surplus with the US reached an all-time high of USD 275.81 billion.

In yuan-denominated terms, from the January to December period, exports expanded 10.8 percent, while imports surged 18.7 percent.



Wednesday January 10 2018
China Inflation Rate Edges Up to 1.8% in December
Statistics China | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's consumer prices rose by 1.8 percent year-on-year in December of 2017, after a 1.7 percent rise in November and slightly below market consensus of a 1.9 percent gain. Cost of non-food continued to increase, while cost of food fell much less.

In December, the politically sensitive food prices declined by 0.4 percent (from -1.1 percent in the prior month), while non-food cost rose 2.4 percent (from 2.5 percent). Cost of consumer goods went up 1.1 percent (from 0.9 percent) and those of services increased by 3.0 percent (from 3.1 percent). 

Among food, prices dropped for: pork (-8.3 percent from -9.0 percent), and fresh vegetables (-8.6 percent from -9.5 percent). In contrast, prices rose for: eggs (11.4 percent from 5.6 percent); milk (0.6 percent from 0.4 percent), and fresh fruits (6.3 percent from 5.7 percent). Meantime, prices of tobacco were flat for the second straight month. 

For non-food categories, prices increased at a faster pace for: clothing (1.3 percent from 1.2 percent in November); household goods and services (1.6 percent from 1.5 percent); education, culture & recreation (2.1 percent from 2.0 percent), and other goods and services (1.9 percent from 1.7 percent). Meantime, cost went up less for: transport and communication (1.2 percent from 1.3 percent), and healthcare (6.6 percent from 7.0 percent), while inflation was steady for: rent, fuel & utilities (2.8 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.3 percent, following a flat reading in a month earlier, while markets estimated a 0.4 percent rise. 

The producer price index increased by 4.9 percent from a year earlier in December of 2017, compared to a 5.8 percent rise in the prior month while markets estimated a 4.8 percent gain. It was the 16th straight month of rise in producer prices but the least since November 2016. Cost rose less for means of production (6.4 percent from 7.5 percent in November, namely extraction: 9.1 percent, raw materials: 8.1 percent and processing: 5.5 percent). Also,  prices rose at softer pace for consumer goods (0.5 percent from 0.6 percent, namely food production: 0.2 percent, clothing: 0.6 percent and daily use goods: 1.6 percent). At the same time, prices of consumer durable goods declined by 0.2 percent (after a flat reading in the prior five months). On a monthly basis, producer prices rose 0.8 percent, compared to a 0.5 percent gain in November.


Saturday December 09 2017
China Inflation Rate Slows to 1.7% in November
Statistics China l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's consumer prices rose 1.7 percent year-on-year in November of 2017, after a 1.9 percent rise in October and slightly below market consensus of a 1.8 percent gain. The slowdown was mainly due to a further fall in cost of food while cost of non-food continued to increase.

In November, the politically sensitive food prices declined by 1.1 percent (from -0.4 percent in the prior month) while non-food cost rose 2.5 percent (from 2.4 percent). Cost of consumer goods went up 0.9 percent (from 1.1 percent) and those of services increased by 3.1 percent (from 3.2 percent). 

Among food, prices dropped for: pork (-9.0 percent from -10.1 percent); fresh vegetables (-9.5 percent from 0.3 percent) and fresh fruits (3.7 percent from -0.7 percent). In contrast, prices rose for: eggs (5.6 percent from 3.1 percent) and milk (0.4 percent from 0.3 percent). Meantime, prices of tobacco was flat (after a 0.1 percent fall in a month earlier). 

For non-food categories, prices increased at a slower rate for: healthcare (7.0 percent from 7.2 percent); education, culture & recreation (2.0 percent from 2.3 percent) and other goods and services (1.7 percent from 1.8 percent). Meantime, cost rose  more for transport and communication (1.3 percent from 0.8 percent) while inflation was steady for: rent, fuel & utilities (2.8 percent) and household goods and services (1.5 percent). 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were flat, following a 0.1 percent growth in a month earlier while markets estimated a 0.1 percent rise. 

The producer price index increased by 5.8 percent from a year earlier in November of 2017, compared to a 6.9 percent rise in the prior two months and slightly less than market estimates of a 5.9 percent gain. It was the 15th straight month of rise in producer prices but the least since July. Cost went up less for means of production (7.5 percent from 9.0 percent, namely extraction: 10.8 percent, raw materials: 9.7 percent and processing: 6.3 percent). Also,  prices rose at softer pace for consumer goods (0.6 percent from 0.8 percent, namely food production: 0.4 percent, clothing: 0.7 percent and daily use goods: 1.7 percent). At the same time, prices of consumer durable goods were unchanged for the fifth month in a row. On a monthly basis, producer prices rose 0.5 percent, compared to a 0.7 percent gain in October.


Friday December 08 2017
China Trade Surplus Beats Estimates in November
Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's trade surplus narrowed to USD 40.21 billion in November 2017 from USD 44.24 billion in the same month a year earlier but above market consensus of USD 35.0 billion. Exports rose 12.3 percent year-on-year to USD 217.37 billion, the most since March; while imports jumped 17.7 percent to USD 177.11 billion.

In November, exports  rose 12.3 percent from the previous year to USD 217.37 billion, beating market estimates of a 5.0 percent gain and following a 6.9 percent growth in the previous month. It was the fastest increase in outbound shipments in eight months, due to robust global demand.

Imports jumped 17.7 percent  year-on-year to USD 177.11 billion, faster than a 17.2 percent rise in a month earlier and above market expectations of a 11.3 percent growth. It marked the 13th straight month of annual growth in inbound shipments and the strongest since September, supported by higher demand on commodities. In order to boost puchases as the country turns to a more consumption-driven basis, policymakers announced tariff cuts recently. Meantime, state energy companies also increased purchases months ahead of the heating season that started mid-November. Crude oil imports rose to 37.04 million tonnes in November, or 9.01 million barrels per day, the second-largest in history. Also, imports of natural gas shipments jumped to a record high as purchases went up up in all areas.

Considering January to November 2017, the trade surplus came in at USD 380.24 billion, down from a USD 471.67 billion surplus in the same period the  preceding year. 
 
In yuan-denominated terms, exports increased by 10.3 percent from a year earlier in November, following a 6.1 percent rise in Octoberber. Purchases rose 15.6 percent, after a 15.9 percent in the prior month. 





Thursday November 09 2017
China Inflation Rate at 9-Month High of 1.9% in October
Statistics China l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's consumer prices rose 1.9 percent year-on-year in October of 2017, after a 1.6 percent rise in September and slightly above market consensus of a 1.8 percent gain. It was the highest inflation rate since January, as cost of non-food increased further while cost of food fell much less than in a month earlier.

In October, the politically sensitive food prices declined by 0.4 percent (from -1.4 percent in the prior month) while non-food cost rose 2.4 percent (from 2.4 percent). Cost of consumer goods went up 1.1 percent (from 0.7 percent) and those of services increased by 3.2 percent (from 3.3 percent). 

Among food, prices dropped for: pork (-10.1 percent from -12.4 percent); tobacco (-0.1 percent from -0.1 percent) and fresh fruits (-0.7 percent from -3.0 percent). In contrast, prices rose for: fresh vegetables (0.3 percent from -1.0 percent); eggs (3.1 percent from 3.7 percent) and milk (0.3 percent from 0.4 percent). 

For non-food categories, prices increased at a faster pace for: transport and communication (0.8 percent from 0.5 percent); household goods and services (1.5 percent from 1.4 percent) and other goods and services (1.8 percent from 1.4 percent). Meantime, cost increased at a softer pace for healthcare (7.2 percent from 7.6 percent); while inflation was steady for: rent, fuel & utilities (2.8 percent) and education, culture & recreation (2.3 percent). 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.1 percent, after gaining 0.5 percent in a month earlier while market estimated a 0.2 percent rise. It was the lowest monthly figure since July.

The producer price index increased by 6.9 percent from a year earlier in October 2017, the same as in the previous month but above market estimates of a 6.6 percent gain. The figure marked the 14th straight month of gain in producer prices and remained the highest since March. Cost went up less for means of production (9.0 percent from 9.1 percent, namely extraction: 14.7 percent, raw materials: 11.6 percent and processing: 7.5 percent). Meantime, prices rose slightly more than in a month earlier for consumer goods (0.8 percent (from 0.7 percent, namely food production: 0.6 percent, clothing: 0.9 percent and daily use goods: 1.9 percent). At the same time, prices of consumer durable goods were unchanged for the fourth month in a row. On a monthly basis, producer prices rose 0.7 percent, compared to a 1.0 percent gain in September.


Wednesday November 08 2017
China October Trade Surplus Smaller than Expected
General Administration of Customs of China l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 38.17 billion in October 2017 from USD 48.42 billion in the same month a year earlier, and missing market consensus of USD 39.50 billion.

Imports jumped 17.2 percent from the previous year to USD 150.81 billion in October, beating market expectations of a 16 percent expansion but easing from 18.7 percent in September. It marked the twelfth straight month of annual growth in inbound shipments, boosted by higher purchases of crude oil, copper, iron ore, soybeans and coal. Oil imports rose from a year ago to 31.03 million tonnes, or 7.3 million barrels per day, but fell sharply from a near record-high of about 9 million barrels in September, touching their lowest level since October 2016. Also, imports of soybean rose 12 percent to 5.86 million tonnes from 5.21 million tonnes last year, but eased from a 12.7 percent gain in September. Compared with the previous month, imports of soybean fell 28 percent from 8.1 million tonnes due to a seasonal gap in overseas supply and as some shipments were delayed. The country's iron ore imports stood at 79.49 million tonnes compared with September's record high of 103 million tonnes, due to steel production cuts; and copper imports were 330,000 tonnes in October, versus 430,000 tonnes in September. Also, China imported 21.28 million tonnes of coal, down from 27.08 million tonnes in September, as the country tries to replace coal with cleaner fuel in the northern part of the country to meet tough air quality targets.

Exports rose 6.9 percent to USD 188.98 billion, below forecasts of 7.2 percent and slowing from September's 8.1 percent. 

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, came in at USD 26.6 billion after hitting a record high of USD 28.1 billion in September, as exports to the country rose 8.3 percent to USD 37.8 billion while imports grew 4.3 percent to USD 11.1 billion. Also, the trade surplus with the EU was USD 11.3 billion, with exports rising by 11.4 percent and imports by 25.3 percent; and that with ASEAN countries was USD 3.7 billion, as exports advanced 10.1 percent and imports 20.6 percent. Meanwhile, the biggest trade deficit was recorded with Taiwan (USD 10.4 billion, with exports increasing 6.5 percent and imports 13 percent), followed by South Korea (USD 7.0 billion, with exports increasing 4.8 percent and imports 16.9 percent), Australia (USD 4.2 billion, with exports increasing 14.8 percent and imports 24.6 percent) and Japan (USD 2.0 billion, with exports increasing 5.7 and imports 13.4 percent).

Considering January to October 2017, the trade surplus came in at USD 340.02 billion, down from a USD 427.42 billion surplus in the same period the preceding year. China's January-October trade surplus with the US was USD 222.98 billion.

In yuan-denominated terms, exports increased by 6.1 percent from a year earlier in October, following a 9 percent rise in September. Inbound shipments rose 15.9 percent, after growing 19.5 percent in the prior month.