Imports to China decreased 1.5 percent from a year earlier to USD 178.4 billion in January 2019, far less than forecasts of a 10 percent slump and after a 7.6 percent decline in December. Purchases of soybean dropped 13 percent to 7.38 million tonnes, amid higher tariff imposed on shipments from the US. Imports also fell for iron ore (-9 percent to 91.26 million tonnes) and steel products (-0.9 percent to 1.18 million tonnes). By contrast, imports increased for: unwrought copper (8.9 percent to 479,000 tonnes); copper concentrate (17 percent to 1.9 million tonnes); crude oil (4.8 percent to 42.60 million tonnes); natural gas (26.2 percent to 9.81 million tonnes); and coal (20.5 percent to 33.50 million tonnes). Among China's biggest trade partners, imports fell mainly from the US (-41.2 percent), ASEAN countries (-7.1 percent), South Korea (-11.8 percent), Japan (-1.3 percent) and Taiwan (-0.5 percent), but rose from the EU (8.2 percent) and Australia (7.6 percent). Imports in China averaged 526.11 USD HML from 1981 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 1949.90 USD HML in September of 2018 and a record low of 13.88 USD HML in February of 1983.
Imports in China is expected to be 1600.00 USD HML by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Imports in China to stand at 1500.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the China Imports is projected to trend around 2100.00 USD HML in 2020, according to our econometric models.