The value of dollar-denominated exports rose 16.3 percent year on year in the January-February period, according to data released by the China Customs Administration on Monday. Although the growth rate exceeded the 15 percent that analysts had expected, it slowed to its lowest level in a year and a half. The last time it recorded a weaker expansion in October 2020 was 11.4%. In December last year, Chinese exports grew by another 20.9 percent.
Imports have also expanded at a slower pace over the past two months. The value of China’s imports, denominated in dollars, rose 15.5 percent year-on-year in the January-February period, less than the 16.5 percent growth analysts had expected. Imports rose another 19.5 percent in December of last year. According to the latest data, the last time a weaker 6.5 percent increase was measured was in December 2020.
The data for the first two months of the year will be published in aggregate by the China Customs Department in order to eliminate the holiday effect due to the Chinese Lunar New Year move. This year, the one-week rest period began on January 31.
Based on dollar values, China’s exports to the European Union increased by 24.2 percent, while its imports decreased by 0.2 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the same period last year. From January to February, the total foreign trade volume of China and the European Union reached 137.15 billion dollars. Thus the European Union was China’s largest trading partner in the first two months of the year, leaving behind the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States.
Data from a joint survey of London-based financial and economic data provider Caixin Insight Group and IHS Markit, published on March 1, revealed that Chinese manufacturers still faced weak foreign demand. In addition, the companies surveyed complained of difficulties in transporting goods.
At the opening of the week-long annual parliamentary session that began last Saturday, China set an economic growth target of 5.5 percent for 2022, indicating the stability of the economy as a priority.
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