China’s Foreign Trade Maintains A Stable and Upward Trend
Foreign trade situation of China in January-april
According to statistics gathered by the Customs House, in JanuaryApril 2018, China’s total import and export value reached RMB 9.11 trillion, with an increase of 8.9% yearon-year. Within this figure, exports reached RMB 4.81 trillion, with an increase of 6.4%, and imports reached RMB 4.3 trillion, with an increase of 11.7%. The surplus was RMB 506.24 billion, which was narrowed by 24.1%. China’s foreign trade continued to maintain a stable and upward trend.
In terms of commodity structure, exports of mechanical and electronic products registered RMB 2.84 trillion, up 8.7%, with the proportion of same to total exports rising by 1.3% to 59.1% compared with that of the same period last year. Among these, exports of integrated circuits, automobiles and mobile phones grew by 22.3%, 17.1% and 13.5% respectively. In terms of imports of commodities, imports of 10 kinds of commodities including natural gas, crude oil, coal and copper concentrate increased by 36.4%, 8.9%, 9.3% and 9.3% respectively. Imports of mechanical and electronic products reached RMB 1.91 trillion, up 15%, and imports of automobile reached 370,000, up 2.1%.
In terms of business entities, the exports of private enterprises reached RMB 2.26 trillion, up 9.6%, accounting for 46.9% of the total, which is 1.3 percentage points higher than previously. The private enterprises continued to be the largest business entity in terms of exports. The exports of state-owned enterprises reached RMB 521.9 billion, up 8%, accounting for 10.9% of the total. The exports of foreigninvested enterprises reached RMB 2.03 trillion, up 2.9%, accounting for 42.2% of the total.
In terms of the trade mode, imports and exports of general trade reached RMB 2.71 trillion, up 12.1%, accounting for 56.3% of the total, which is 2.9 percentage points higher than previously. Exports of processing trade reached RMB 1.54 trillion, up 0.5%, accounting for 32% of the total. The exports of small-scale border trade reached RMB 62.25 billion, up 20.9%, accounting for 1.3% of the total.
In terms of the international market, imports and exports to the countries along the Belt and Road routes amounted to RMB 2.51 trillion, up 11.6%, which is 2.7 percentage points higher than the overall speed. China’s exports to traditional markets such as the US, the EU and Hong Kong grew by 6.6%, 5.7% and 7.2% respectively.
In terms of domestic regions, the export growth in the central and western regions reached 17%, which is 10.6 percentage points higher than the overall speed, with the proportion increasing by 1.5 percentage points to 16.4%. Export growth in the eastern region reached 4.6%, accounting for 83.6% of the total.
Performance of consumption market
According to statistics gathered by the National Bureau of Statistics, the retail sales of national social consumer goods in January-march amounted to RMB 9.0275 trillion, up 9.8% year-on-year. The retail sales in March grew to 10.1% year- onyear, which was 0.4 percentage points faster than that in January-february. The retail sales of major retailing enterprises monitored by MOFCOM grew to 4.5% year-on-year, which was 0.4 percentage points higher than that over the same period of last year.
China’s consumption market in the first quarter saw a steady rise, with consumption increasingly pulling the economic growth and the contribution rate of consumption to economic growth reaching as high as 77.8%. Its characteristics are listed below:
1. Online sales maintained rapid growth. The retail sales of commodities online reached RMB 1.5 trillion in the first quarter, up 34.4% year- onyear, accounting for 16.1% of total retail sales, 3.7 percentage points higher than that over the same period of last year. The growth of online retail sales of key retailing enterprises monitored by MOFCOM was 18.8, 16.1 and 14.2 percentage points higher than that of stores, supermarkets and shopping malls respectively.
2. There was a pick-up in offline consumption. As bricks-and-mortar retailers were upgraded and transformed, traditional entities constantly adjusted their commodity structures and business types, and conducted innovation in supply chains, channels and service modes while offline retail sales continuously increased. In the first quarter, the sales of stores, supermarkets, shopping malls and convenience stores monitored by MOFCOM grew to 1.7%, 4.4%, 6.3% and 7.2% respectively year- on-year, 0.8, 0.6, 0.5 and 0.4 percentage points higher than that over the same period of last year.
3. Commodity consumption upgrading never stopped. Demands for intellectual energy- saving and environmental protection increased, leading to fast growth of the sales of high quality upgraded goods. The sales of automobiles above the designated limit in the first quarter grew to 7.4% year- on- year, 5.1 percentage points higher than that over the same period of last year, and the sales of new energy automobiles grew 154%. Sales of cosmetics, daily necessities, home appliances, and clothes above the designated limit grew to 16.1%, 12.3%, 11.4% and 9.8% respectively, with an increase of 6.2, 3.8, 3.4 and 3.6 percentage points over the same period of last year.
4. Service consumption quality was promoted. With the rapid growth in the catering, tourism and entertainment industries, their servicesare marked with the characteristics of high quality and being finely divided. The tourism market is booming, ice and snow sports, parent-child visits, fruit-picking and flower tours have become hot spots, and have been ranked the top in the list of traveler’s favorites. The catering revenue in the first quarter grew to 10.3% yearon-year. Among these, those above the designated unit grew to 8%, 0.7 percentage points higher than that over the same period of last year. The national box office reached RMB 20.22 billion, up 39.8% year-on-year. In particular, RMB 5.72 billion was registered during the Spring Festival and with RMB 10 billion being taken in February, making two new records in a row.
5. Consumption prices rose steadily. The CPI in the first quarter was up 2.1% year-on-year, with a yearon- year increase of 0.7 percentage points. The prices of farm products monitored by MOFCOM increased by 1.1% year-on-year, which was 5.0 percentage points higher than that over the same period of last year. Prices in March decreased by 5.4% monthon- month, ending the upturn in momentum of same over 7 consecutive months, among which vegetables, pork and eggs stood out with a drop of 12.3%, 12.2% and 7.6% respectively month-on-month.
With the steady growth of the national economy, the supplyside structure reform was deeply advanced, the income of urban and rural residents grew rapidly, policies regarding consumption expansion were gradually implemented, and the consumption structure was upgraded. The consumption market is expected to maintain rapid growth.
Online sales market in the first quarter
According to statistics collected by the State Statistics Bureau, in the first quarter of 2018, China’s online retail reached RMB 1931.8 billion, up 35.4% year-on-year. Online sales of national entities reached RMB 1.4567 trillion, up 34.4% year-on-year, 24.6 percentage points higher than that of the total retail sales of consumer goods, and accounting for 16.1% of the total retailing of social consumption goods, which greatly drove up the consumption growth.
China’s online sales market in the first quarter mainly showed the following features:
1. The trend of improvements in quality and upgrading was obvious. The monitoring of business big data showed that the consumption of culture, health and tourism increased sharply, and the increasing sales speed of books and videos, stationery and Chinese and Western medicines was over 50%, showing that the consumption needs of the market have been changing quickly and that cultural implications and experience consumption have become important factors inf luencing the consumers’ choices.
2. Rural online sales enjoyed rapid growth. According to the monitored business big data, the national rural online sales in the first quarter of 2018 was RMB 287.82 billion, up 34.7% yearon-year, accounting for 14.9% of national online sales. Among these, the online sales of physical goods reached RMB 225.23 billion, up 32.2% year-on-year, and online sales of non-physical goods was RMB 62.59 billion, up 38.9% yearon-year. From the regional perspective, rural online sales in the eastern, central, western and northeast regions were RMB 207.94 billion, RMB 41.35 billion, RMB 31.15 billion and RMB 7.39 billion respectively, up 32.5%, 40%, 43.9% and 31.8% respectively year-on-year, accounting for 13.5%, 24.5%, 19.1% and 23% respectively in their own regions.
3. E-commerce for second-hand goods promoted green development. Second-hand e-commerce grew rapidly in the first quarter and the online and offline exchange for untraded items was active, which helped the docking between the supply and demand of unused social resources and strongly promoted green and cyclic development.
4. Social e- commerce helped enlarge the market. In the first quarter, through the spread of acquaintances on social platforms, group buying and other modes, many consumers in the Midwest and rural areas and middle-aged and elderly consumers were attracted to online purchases, allowing more consumers to enjoy the convenience of online shopping.