China’s exports growth accelerated in August while imports edged lower as the world’s second-largest economy extended its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
China’s exports rose 9.5% over a year earlier to $235.2 billion, up from July’s 7.2% growth, data from the General Administration of Customs showed Monday. Imports declined 2.1% to $176.3 billion, compared with the previous month’s 1.4% contraction.
China’s exporters have benefited from its relatively early reopening from a shutdown to fight the virus while competitors in many other countries still face anti-disease controls that disrupt business.
Exports to the United States rose 20% to $44.8 billion despite tariff hikes imposed by the Trump administration in a fight with Beijing over its technology ambitions and trade surplus. Imports of American goods gained 2% to $10.5 billion.
The changes were due mostly to lower prices and comparison with last August’s relative weak exports, according to Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics. Evans-Pritchard estimated the volume of goods exported rose 9.7% from a year earlier while import volumes rose 9.5%.
Other exporters have benefited from increased Chinese demand for their goods after growth in the world’s second-largest economy rebounded to 3.2% over a year earlier in the three months ending in June. Activity the previous quarter fell 6.8%, the deepest slump since at least the mid-1960s.
China’s exports and import details
China’s exports to the 27-nation European Union, China’s biggest foreign market, fell 20.1% from a year earlier to $35.7 billion. Imports of European goods tumbled 29.7% to $22.5 billion.
China’s global trade surplus swelled by 72% over a year earlier to $58.9 billion. That was down from July’s $62.3 billion gap.
Chinese importers have benefited from a slump in global prices for oil and many other goods due to weak demand caused by virus-related shutdowns.
Fast-growing exports included integrated circuits, smartphones, auto-data processors and household appliances.
That suggests “China still has some trade partners that are willing to import Chinese technology” despite tension with Washington, Iris Pang of ING said in a report.
Still, Pang warned Chinese exporters of higher-tech goods might face trouble as Washington tightens curbs on access to U.S. components in a feud with Beijing over technology and security.
“This could affect exports of technological products and services in the coming months,” said Pang.