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China’s imports to stay strong in H1 on commodities and electronics

CHINA'S imports from Asian countries are likely to remain strong until the second half this year supported by strong demand for commodities and smartphones, Nomura analysts said today.

Rob Subbaraman, head of global market research, said the strong export of Asian countries, excluding Japan, starting the fourth quarter last year will continue at least through May led by shipment of commodities and electronics to China.

China's commodity demand was driven by restocking, and the electronics upcycle was underpinned by Chinese smartphone demand and inventory restocking.

However, drivers behind the China demand may start to fade in the second quarter as recent tightening of property-related measures should slow China's GDP growth, and the currently hot demand for smartphones is likely to cool in 2018.

Inflation at the factory gate will also cool down in the second half, putting a brake to Chinese inventory re-stocking, Subbaraman said.

Nomura raised forecast for China GDP this year to 6.7 percent, but expected the growth to slow down to 6.2 percent in 2018.

Wee Choon Teo, Asia FX strategist, said the yuan may remain weak under the pressure of slowing China growth, capital outflows, and potential US trade protectionism on China and the Asian region.

China's GDP exceeded market expectations and grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter with strong increase seen across trade, fixed-asset investment, consumption, and industrial production indicators.


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