Trade slows but still im­pels econ­omy

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHONG NAN and JING SHUIYU Con­tact the writ­ers at zhong­nan@chi­

China’s for­eign trade in July, though slower than ex­pected, still achieved dou­ble-digit growth, as the coun­try main­tains steady de­mand for for­eign com­modi­ties and con­tin­ues to di­ver­sify its trad­ing with var­i­ous part­ners.

China’s ex­ports in yuan-de­nom­i­nated terms rose by 11.2 per­cent year-on-year last month, and im­ports by 14.7 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms data on Tues­day. Pre­vi­ously, cus­toms fore­cast July year-on-year ex­port growth of 14.8 per­cent and im­port growth of 22.6 per­cent.

Trade fig­ures showed a monthly sur­plus of 321.2 bil­lion yuan ($47.8 bil­lion), a 1.4 per­cent year-on-year in­crease.

In the first seven months, ex­ports rose by 14.4 per­cent year-on-year and im­ports by 24 per­cent, low­er­ing the trade sur­plus by 14.5 per­cent. For­eign trade from Jan­uary to July to­taled 15.46 tril­lion yuan, up by 18.5 per­cent year-on-year. “Slower-than-ex­pected July growth is un­der­stand­able be­cause last year had a high base fig­ure. And the dou­ble-digit growth is high enough to sup­port the growth stream,” said Zhang Yongjun, a re­searcher at the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes.

Shen Jian­guang, chief econ­o­mist of Mizuho Se­cu­ri­ties Asia, Ltd, said un­like the past two years, when China’s eco­nomic growth heav­ily de­pended on in­vest­ment and do­mes­tic con­sump­tion, ex­ports now have proved an im­por­tant eco­nomic growth en­gine.

Jan­uary to July trade with the EU climbed by 17.1 per­cent yearon-year to 2.33 tril­lion yuan. Trade with the United States rose by 20.6 per­cent, with ASEAN by 20.9 per­cent and with Ja­pan by 16.9 per­cent.

Ex­ports of ma­chin­ery, elec­tron­ics and la­bor-in­ten­sive prod­ucts con­tin­ued to ex­pand in the first seven months, but the vol­ume of steel ex­ports dropped by 28.7 per­cent year-on-year to 47.95 mil­lion met­ric tons.

The Min­istry of Com­merce plans to as­sist man­u­fac­tur­ers in iden­ti­fy­ing “spe­cific re­gions” in key emerg­ing ex­port mar­kets, par­tic­u­larly in BRICS economies and mar­kets re­lated to the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, to fur­ther di­ver­sify and ex­pand trade ties.

Zhang, the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes re­searcher, urged de­vel­oped economies to re­duce the trade im­bal­ance by ex­pand­ing ex­ports and cre­at­ing jobs.

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