China's trade balance shifted to a USD 32.64 billion surplus in March 2019 from a USD 5.77 billion deficit in the same month a year earlier and easily beating market estimates of a USD 7.05 billion surplus. Exports soared 14.2 percent year-on-year to USD 198.7 billion, while imports declined by 7.6 percent to USD 166 billion. Considering the first three months of the year, the trade surplus widened sharply to USD 76.3 billion from USD 54.6 billion in the same period the prior year. The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, narrowed to USD 20.5 billion in March from USD 14.72 billion in the previous period. For the January to March period, the trade surplus with the US was at USD 62.66 billion. Balance of Trade in China averaged 96.83 USD HML from 1981 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 612.86 USD HML in October of 2015 and a record low of -320.02 USD HML in February of 2012.

Balance of Trade in China is expected to be 370.00 USD HML by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Balance of Trade in China to stand at 150.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the China Balance of Trade is projected to trend around 110.00 USD HML in 2020, according to our econometric models.

China Balance of Trade
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Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2019-01-14 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $57.06B $41.86B $51.53B $48B
2019-02-14 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $39.16B $57.06B $33.5B $36B
2019-03-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $4.12B $39.59B $26.38B $21B
2019-04-12 06:30 AM Balance of Trade $32.64B $4.08B $7.05B $10B
2019-05-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $32.64B $22B
2019-06-10 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $25B
2019-07-12 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $37B



China March Trade Surplus Beats Expectations

China's trade balance shifted to a USD 32.64 billion surplus in March 2019 from a USD 5.77 billion deficit in the same month a year earlier and easily beating market estimates of a USD 7.05 billion surplus, as exports soared while imports fell. Considering the first quarter of the year, the trade surplus widened sharply to USD 76.3 billion from USD 54.6 billion in the same period the prior year, as exports grew 1.4 percent and imports shrank 4.8 percent.

Exports rose 14.2 percent from a year earlier to USD 198.7 billion in March, rebounding from a marginally revised 20.8 percent fall in February, which was the steepest drop in three years, and beating market expectations of a 7.3 percent advance. The upturn came in amid improving global demand, trade talk optimism and after a Lunar New Year holiday. China's unwrought aluminium and aluminium product exports went up 21.3 percent from a year earlier to 546,000 tonnes in February and advanced 60.6 percent from January's revised figure of 340,000 tonnes. Also, sales of steel products increased 12 percent to 6.33 million tonnes and were up 40.3 percent from the prior month's 4.51 million tonnes. Additionally, sales of coal jumped 169 percent to 0.57 million tonnes, but dropped 13.1 percent from February's 0.65 million tonnes. Exports of rice surged 90 percent to 190,000 tonnes and were up 35.7 percent from the previous month's 140,000 tonnes. 

Among China's biggest trade partners, exports rose to the EU (8.8 percent), ASEAN countries (9.8 percent), Taiwan (11.5 percent), South Korea (5.7 percent), Japan (2.6 percent), and Australia (9.7 percent), but fell to the US (-8.5 percent).

Imports dropped 7.6 percent to USD 166 billion in March, worse than market expectations of a 1.3 percent fall and after a 5.2 percent decline in the previous month. This was the fourth straight month of decline in inbound shipments, suggesting the country's domestic demand remains weak, as purchases of soybeans decreased 13.1 percent to 4.92 million tonnes, amid higher tariff imposed on shipments from the US. Still, when compared to February's 4.45 million tonnes, soybean imports rose 10.5 percent. In addition, purchases of unwrought copper fell 9.1 percent to 391,000 tonnes, but increased 26.1 percent from the prior month's 310,000 tonnes. Also, imports of steel products dropped 26.9 percent to 0.90 million tonnes but increased 11 percent from the previous months's 0.81 million tonnes. Inbound shipments of coal fell 12.1 percent to 23.48 million tonnes, but surged 33.1 percent from the prior month's 17.64 million tonnes. In contrast, imports of iron ore went up 0.8 percent to 86.42 million tonnes and advanced 4 percent from February's 83.08 million tonnes. Additionally, purchases of copper concentrate advanced 10.4 percent to 1.767 million tonnes, but declined 8 percent month-on-month. Inbound shipments of crude oil grew 0.4 percent from a year ago to 39.34 million tonnes and advanced 0.3 percent from the previous months's 39.23 million tonnes. Also, natural gas imports increased 16.4 percent to 6.94 million tonnes, but dropped 8.2 percent from 7.56 million tonnes in February. 

Imports went down mainly from the US (-31.8 percent), ASEAN countries (-5.3 percent), South Korea (-13.5 percent), Japan (-6.1 percent) and Taiwan (-6.1 percent), but rose from the EU (1.8 percent) and Australia (4.1 percent).

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, narrowed to USD 20.5 billion in March from  USD 14.72 billion in the previous period. For the January to March period, the trade surplus with the US was recorded at USD 62.66 billion.

In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 220 billion in March, with exports soaring 21.3 percent while imports declining 1.8 percent.

Big fluctuations in January to March China's trade data are mostly due to a Lunar New Year holiday.


General Administration of Customs l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
4/12/2019 10:22:55 AM



China Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 326.47 40.10 612.86 -320.02 USD HML [+]
Current Account 545.99 232.63 1330.85 -341.00 USD HML [+]
Current Account to GDP 0.40 1.30 10.10 -3.70 percent [+]
Imports 1660.25 1311.50 1951.23 13.88 USD HML [+]
Exports 1986.72 1351.70 2315.23 12.50 USD HML [+]
External Debt 19652.14 17106.00 19652.14 158.28 USD HML [+]
Terms of Trade 104.38 99.42 118.33 81.75 Index Points [+]
Capital Flows -546.00 168.00 725.40 -1305.58 USD HML [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 36.19 216.90 1349.70 18.32 USD HML [+]
Tourist Arrivals 3054.00 2917.00 3054.00 22.96 Tens of Thousands [+]
Gold Reserves 1864.30 1852.50 1864.30 395.01 Tonnes [+]
Crude Oil Production 3845.00 3779.00 4408.00 1012.00 BBL/D/1K [+]
Tourism Revenues 5.97 5.40 5.97 4.13 CNY Trillion [+]
Terrorism Index 5.11 5.54 6.29 1.47 [+]
Weapons Sales 1131.00 2192.00 2606.00 3.00 USD Million [+]

Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category



China Balance of Trade

Since 1995, China has been recording consistent trade surpluses which from 2004 to 2009 has increased 10 times. In 2018, China posted a trade surplus of USD 351.76 billion, the lowest since 2013, as exports increased 9.9 percent, its strongest performance in seven years, while imports were up 15.8 percent. The biggest trade surpluses were recorded with Hong Kong, the US, the Netherlands, India, the UK, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. China recorded trade deficits with Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Brazil and South Africa. This page provides - China Balance of Trade - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news. China Balance of Trade - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on April of 2019.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
326.47 40.10 612.86 -320.02 1981 - 2019 USD HML Monthly
Current Prices, NSA




Country Last Previous
Argentina 460.00 Feb/19
Australia 4801.00 Feb/19
Brazil 4990.00 Mar/19
Canada -2894.80 Feb/19
China 326.47 Mar/19
Euro Area 17938.00 Feb/19
France -4002.00 Feb/19
Germany 17900.00 Feb/19
India -10890.00 Mar/19
Indonesia 540.20 Mar/19
Italy 3267.83 Feb/19
Japan 528.50 Mar/19
Mexico 1222.00 Feb/19
Netherlands 5130.00 Feb/19
Russia 15671.00 Feb/19
Saudi Arabia 180059.00 Dec/18
Singapore 3615.50 Mar/19
South Africa 3990.00 Feb/19
South Korea 5222.00 Mar/19
Spain -4483276.00 Jan/19
Switzerland 2494.00 Mar/19
Turkey -2134.33 Feb/19
United Kingdom -4860.00 Feb/19
United States -49382.00 Feb/19


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