Im­port growth points to eco­nomic sta­bi­liza­tion

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By LI XIANG lix­i­ang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s im­ports in Au­gust rose for the first time in nearly two years while the de­cline in ex­ports de­cel­er­ated, sig­nal­ing that govern­ment mea­sures to sta­bi­lize growth may have taken ef­fect, ex­perts said on Thurs­day.

Dol­lar- de­nom­i­nated im­ports beat ex­pec­ta­tions to in­crease by 1.5 per­cent yearon-year, re­vers­ing a 12.5 per­cent slump in July.

Ex­ports in dol­lar terms fell 2.8 per­cent year-on-year, the slow­est pace in four months, ac­cord­ing to data from the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

Fac­tors in­clud­ing a re­bound in com­modi­ties prices, im­proved do­mes­tic and over­seas de­mand, and a weaker yuan may have con­trib­uted to the bet­ter-than-ex­pected trade data in Au­gust, ex­perts said.

Guo Yan­hong, chief strate­gist at Founder Se­cu­ri­ties Co, said that the im­proved trade data also pointed to the ef­fec­tive govern­ment mea­sures to sta­bi­lize growth, in­clud­ing ex­pan­sion of in­fra­struc­ture projects and strong prop­erty sales, which helped lift do­mes­tic de­mand and boost im­port growth.

Of­fi­cial data showed that China’s iron ore im­ports jumped 9.3 per­cent in Au­gust from a year ear­lier, while coal im­ports rose by 12.4 per­cent.

“The im­prove­ment in im­ports could last un­til Septem­ber but any ad­just­ment in China’s prop­erty mar­ket could once again weigh on im­ports,” Guo said.

Zhao Yang, an econ­o­mist at No­mura Se­cu­ri­ties Co Ltd, said that the sur­pris­ing surge in im­ports in Au­gust may be more tran­sient than long-last­ing.

Growth in im­ports of au­to­mo­biles im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly, which was likely driven by post-flood pur­chases. Im­ports of semi­con­duc­tor prod­ucts also in­creased rapidly in Au­gust, which may have been sup­ported by prepa­ra­tions for the launch of the iPhone 7 in Septem­ber, he said.

An of­fi­cial in­dex gaug­ing fu­ture ex­ports rose 0.9 points to 34.7, which could im­ply con­tin­ued im­prove­ment in China’s ex­ports.

The Chi­nese cus­toms ad­min­is­tra­tion said the im­prove­ment should con­tinue in the fourth quar­ter as a re­cent sur­vey it con­ducted among ex­porters showed im­proved con­fi­dence, ris­ing or­ders and declining costs.

The G20 lead­ers pledged at the Hangzhou Sum­mit, which con­cluded on Mon­day, to re­store trade as a key en­gine for global growth. They vowed to strengthen trade and in­vest­ment by low­er­ing bar­ri­ers, re­duc­ing costs and pri­or­i­tiz­ing trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion mea­sures.

But Xu Gao, chief econ­o­mist at Ever­bright Se­cu­ri­ties Co, said that China’s ex­ports may re­main sub­dued due to the weak eco­nomic re­cov­ery in de­vel­oped coun­tries.

CUI PENGSEN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A woman ex­am­ines im­ported wines at a duty-free shop in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince.

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