China September Trade Surplus Beats Expectations


China's trade surplus widened to USD 39.65 billion in September 2019 from USD 30.26 billion in the same month a year earlier and compared to market expectations of a USD 33.3 billion surplus.

Exports declined by 3.2 percent year-on-year to USD 218.12 billion in September, compared to market estimates of 3 percent drop and following a 1 percent fall in August. This was the steepest yearly drop in overseas sales since February, amid weakening global demand and ongoing trade dispute with the US. Meanwhile, following a recent first phase of a trade deal, US President Donald Trump suspended a threatened tariff hike set for October 15th. Previously from September 1st, Washington imposed 15 percent tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods, and Beijing hit back with retaliatory levies. Sales contracted for crude oil (-70.5 percent to 0.08 million tonnes), unwrought aluminium and products (-14.2 percent to 445,000 tonnes), coke & semi-coke (-25.8 percent to 0.39 million tonnes), steel products (-10.4 percent to USD 5.33 million tonnes) and rare earth (-27.9 percent to 4,950 tonnes). Also, exports of rice declined 46.9 percent to 93,000 tonnes. On the other hand, exports rose for refined products (39.6 percent to 5.68 million tonnes), and coal (34.5 percent to 0.24 million tonnes).

Among major trade partners, exports fell to the US (-17.8 percent); but rose to Japan (11 percent), South Korea (4.4 percent), Taiwan (29.5 percent), the EU (1.3 percent) and ASEAN countries (11.5 percent).

Imports slumped 8.5 percent to USD 178.47 billion, missing market consensus of a 5.2 percent fall and after a 5.6 percent drop in August. This was the fifth straight month of yearly decrease in imports, as purchases fell for unwrought copper (-14.6 percent to 445,000 tonnes), steel products (-7.6 percent to 1.11 million tonnes), rare earth (-27.9 percent to 3,571 tonnes), rubber (-10 percent to 546,000 tonnes), and refined products (-26.5 percent to 2.14 million tonnes). In contrast, iron ore imports jumped 93.47 percent to 99.36 million tonnes, its highest level in 20 months, fuelled by firm demand at steel mills and stable shipments from big miners. Also, purchases advanced for: crude oil (10.8 percent to 41.24 million tonnes), coal (20.5 percent to 30.29 million tonnes), and natural gas (7.8 percent to 8.21 million tonnes). In addition, imports of soybeans grew 2.3 percent to 8.2 million tonnes. Also, arrivals of edible vegetable oil rose 44.3 percent to 840,000 tonnes.

Purchases declined from the US (-20.6 percent), the EU (-7.1 percent), Japan (-3.7 percent), South Korea (-14.9 percent), and Taiwan (-1.7 percent), but grew from Australia (22.2 percent) and the ASEAN countries (15.1 percent). 

China's trade surplus with the US narrowed to USD 25.88 billion in September from USD 26.96 billion in August. Considering the first nine months of the year, trade surplus with the US was recorded at USD 221.33 billion.

In the January-September period, the trade surplus increased to USD 298.92 billion from USD 219.31 billion in the corresponding period the prior year, with exports falling 0.1 percent and imports declining at a faster 5 percent.

In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 275.15 billion in September, as exports shrank 0.7 percent and imports tumbled 6.2 percent. 


China September Trade Surplus Beats Expectations


General Administration of Customs l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
10/14/2019 9:50:07 AM