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August 9, 2016

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China’s July trade surplus rises as exports improve

CHINA’S trade surplus widened in July as exports improved while imports continued to lose steam, according to latest government data, but analysts expect exports to be lackluster going forward.

Yuan-denominated exports rose 2.9 percent year on year to 1.22 trillion yuan (US$183 billion) last month, faster than June’s 1.3 percent pace, data released by the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday.

But imports fell even faster by 5.7 percent to 873 billion yuan in July to notch the 20th decline seen in 21 months. Imports shed 2.3 percent in June.

China posted a July trade surplus of 342.8 billion yuan, up from June’s 311.2 billion yuan and a jump of 34 percent from the same period a year earlier.

“China’s trade surplus continued to surge as a result of low commodity prices and weak domestic import demand,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in its latest China economic research. “Looking ahead, China’s exports are likely to remain lackluster.”

ANZ Research wrote in a separate note that “China’s trade data was unimpressive in July and we expect to see a challenging second half for China’s exports as sluggish growth in Europe and Japan is likely to drag on China’s exports. Brexit will weigh furher on exports to the EU, as the EU and Japan together make up over a fifth of China’s total exports.”

In US dollar-denominated terms, China’s exports fell by a bigger margin of 4.4 percent year on year in July, while imports shrank 12.5 percent from a year earlier.

China’s US dollar-denominated exports to the European Union — its largest trading partner — fell 2 percent. Those to the US — its second biggest — lost 3.2 percent and those to Japan shed 5.2 percent annually in July.

China’s foreign trade in the first seven months of this year shed 3 percent year on year to 13.21 trillion yuan, with exports down 1.6 percent and imports off 4.8 percent, according to Customs data. That saw the trade surplus grow 8.7 percent year on year to 1.99 trillion yuan for the first seven months, higher than the 5.9-percent gain in the first half of this year.

Exports to the EU rose 1.7 percent annually in the January-July period while those to the US shed 3.1 percent. Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations fell 1.6 percent.


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