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October 14, 2021

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September exports expand on strong global demand

China’s exports in US dollar terms expanded more than expected in September, official data showed yesterday, as solid global demand offset the pressure on factories from a nationwide power crunch and a resurgence of domestic COVID-19 cases.

The exports in September grew by 28.1 percent from a year ago to US$305.74 billion, up from a 25.6 percent gain in August, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

September’s gain was higher than Bloomberg’s forecast of 21.5 percent and that of 21 percent in a Reuters poll.

However, growth in imports in US dollar terms slowed to 17.6 percent in September from 33.1 percent the previous month. The value of imports stood at US$238.98 billion.

The imports growth lagged an expected 20 percent gain predicted in the Reuters poll and the 20.9 percent of Bloomberg.

“We think that on the whole, there are both many favorable and unfavorable factors affecting the trade,” said Chinese customs spokesman Li Kuiwen. “The increase of demand in the global market has benefited China’s exports. The rise in international commodity prices has pushed up the value of imports,” Li said.

He cautioned that China’s trade is still facing many instabilities and uncertainties. “The global pandemic remains unstable, the world economic recovery is tough, the external environment is becoming more complex and severe.”

Power shortages in China due to surging global energy prices and strong industrial demand have forced factories to cease operations. Manufacturing PMI slipped to 49.6 in September, reflecting a slowdown in production activity.

Official data showed China’s coal imports last month rose to their highest this year. Imports totaled 32.88 million tons in September, up 76 percent from a year earlier. The monthly tally was the fifth highest on record, according to Reuters calculations.

In the first nine months of 2021, China’s total imports and exports surged 32.8 percent year on year to US$4.37 trillion.

During the January-September period, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations remained China’s largest trading partner, with a total trade value of US$630.5 billion. It was followed by the EU and the US, with a trade value of US$599.3 billion and US$543.1 billion, respectively.

China’s foreign trade in the first, second and third quarters of this year were 29.7 percent, 25.2 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively, showing a gradual decline, according to customs data.

“Taking into account the impact of the high base of foreign trade in 2020, the growth rate of foreign trade may fall in the fourth quarter of this year. But the overall upward trend of the country’s foreign trade will not change, and it is still expected to achieve rapid growth throughout the year,” said Li.


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