China's trade surplus soared to USD 41.66 billion in May 2019 from USD 23.42 billion in the same month a year earlier and easily beating market consensus of a surplus of USD 20.5 billion. This was the largest trade surplus since December last year, as exports rose unexpectedly while imports dropped the most in nearly three years. Balance of Trade in China averaged 97.58 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
Forecast Data Chart
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Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
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 $13.84B $32.67B $35B $22B
2019-06-10 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $41.66B $13.77B $20.5B $25B
2019-07-12 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $41.66B $ 53B
2019-08-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $21B
2019-09-08 04:00 AM Balance of Trade $19B

China May Trade Surplus Larger than Expected

China's trade surplus soared to USD 41.66 billion in May 2019 from USD 23.42 billion in the same month a year earlier and easily beating market consensus of a surplus of USD 20.5 billion. This was the largest trade surplus since December last year, as exports rose unexpectedly while imports dropped the most in nearly three years.

Exports rose by 1.1 percent year-on-year to USD 213.85 billion in May, recovering from a 2.7 percent decline in the previous month and defying market expectations of a 3.8 percent fall. The rebound in overseas sales came in amid efforts from companies to rush out shipments to avoid higher US tariffs that US President Donald Trump is threatening to impose in a rapidly escalating trade conflict. Sales of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products went up 10.5 percent from a year earlier to 536,000 tonnes, and were up 7.6 percent from April's 498,000 tonnes. Also, exports of coke & semi-coke rose 4.8 percent year-on-year to 0.88 million tonnes and jumped 51.7 percent from April's 0.58 million tonnes. In addition, exports of rice surged 236.3 percent to 343,000 tonnes but fell 2.3 percent from April's 351,000 tonnes. In contrast, sales of steel products dropped 16.6 percent to 5.74 million tonnes and were down 9.3 percent from the previous month's of 6.33 million tonnes; while those of coal declined 39.6 percent to 0.32 million tonnes, and dropped 36 percent from April's 0.5 million tonnes. Exports of rare earths slumped 18.2 percent from a year ago to 3,639.5 tonnes in May and were down 15.9 from April's 4,328.9 tonnes.

Among China's largest trade partners, exports rose to the EU (6.1 percent), ASEAN (3.5 percent), Taiwan (12.8 percent), Japan (0.5 percent), South Korea (1.8 percent) and Australia (2 percent). In contrast, sales to the US fell 4.2 percent.

Imports plunged 8.5 percent to USD 172.19 billion, reversing a 4 percent advance in April and worse than forecasts of a 3.8 percent drop. This was the largest yearly drop in inbound shipments in nearly three years, a further sign of weak domestic demand that could lead Beijing to add more stimulus. Purchases of unwrought copper tumbled 24 percent year-on-year to 361,000 tonnes in May and fell 10.9 percent from April's 405,000 tonnes. Also, arrivals of iron ore fell 11 percent year-on-year to 83.75 million tonnes in May, but were up by 3.7 percent from April. In addition, inbound shipments of soybeans slumped 24 percent year-on-year to 7.36 million tonnes in May, amid higher tariff on US cargoes and following outbreaks of African swine fever. In contrast, purchases of coal surged 23 percent year-on-year to 27.47 million tonnes, and rose by 8.6 percent from the previous month ahead of the peak demand season. Imports of crude oil rose 3 percent to USD 40.23 million tonnes, but were still below April's record 43.73 million tonnes. Gas imports were at 7.56 million tonnes in May, up 3.6 percent from the same month last year but down slightly from 7.65 million tonnes in April.

Imports dropped from the US (-26.8 percent), Japan (-15.9 percent), South Korea (-18.2 percent) and Taiwan (-8.3 percent), but grew from the EU (1.8 percent), Australia (5.2 percent) and ASEAN (3.4 percent).

China's trade surplus with the United States rose to USD 26.89 billion in May, from USD 21.01 billion in April. For January-May combined, China's trade surplus with the US stood at USD 110.55 billion.

Considering the first five months of the year, the trade surplus widened to USD 130.47 billion from USD 94.36 billion in the same period last year, with exports rising 0.4 percent from a year earlier and imports declining 3.7 percent.

In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 279.12 billion in May, as exports grew by 7.7 percent, while imports declined by 2.5 percent.

General Administration of Customs | Rida Husna |
6/10/2019 12:01:15 PM

China Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 416.58 137.70 612.86 -320.02 USD HML [+]
Current Account 586.00 545.99 1330.85 -341.00 USD HML [+]
Current Account to GDP 0.40 1.30 10.10 -3.70 percent [+]
Imports 1721.88 1797.10 1951.30 13.88 USD HML [+]
Exports 2138.45 1934.80 2315.23 12.50 USD HML [+]
External Debt 19652.14 17106.00 19652.14 158.28 USD HML [+]
Terms of Trade 101.86 100.20 118.33 81.75 Index Points [+]
Capital Flows -586.00 -546.00 725.40 -1305.58 USD HML [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 546.10 451.37 1349.66 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 3780.00 3812.00 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 1040.00 1227.00 2605.00 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 June of 2019.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
416.58 137.70 612.86 -320.02 1981 - 2019 USD HML Monthly
Current Prices, NSA

Country Last Previous
Argentina 1131.00 Apr/19
Australia 4871.00 Apr/19
Brazil 6422.00 May/19
Canada -966.20 Apr/19
China 416.58 May/19
Euro Area 22532.90 Mar/19
France -4981.00 Apr/19
Germany 17900.00 Apr/19
India -15360.00 May/19
Indonesia -2501.90 Apr/19
Italy 4625.00 Mar/19
Japan 60.40 Apr/19
Mexico 1370.00 Apr/19
Netherlands 4154.00 Apr/19
Russia 13705.00 Apr/19
Saudi Arabia 180059.00 Dec/18
Singapore 3962.64 May/19
South Africa -3427.45 Apr/19
South Korea 2271.00 May/19
Spain -2352600.00 Mar/19
Switzerland 1906.00 Apr/19
Turkey -2982.01 Apr/19
United Kingdom -2740.00 Apr/19
United States -50791.00 Apr/19