Trade likely to grow at dou­ble-digit rate in 2017, says China

The Straits Times - - BUSINESS -

BEI­JING China’s for­eign trade will likely grow at a dou­ble-digit rate this year if cur­rent con­di­tions con­tinue, the Cus­toms bu­reau said yes­ter­day as it re­leased Septem­ber data that showed ex­ports re­mained re­silient.

Over­seas ship­ments rose from a year ear­lier, just nar­rowly miss­ing es­ti­mates – the lat­est sign that Asian trade is hold­ing up on ro­bust ex­ter­nal de­mand and a brighter global out­look.

Septem­ber ex­ports rose 8.1 per cent from a year ear­lier, while im­ports beat fore­casts, grow­ing 18.7 per cent. That left China with a trade sur­plus of US$28.47 bil­lion (S$38.6 bil­lion) for the month, the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms said.

De­mand for Chi­nese prod­ucts has proven ro­bust as growth in ma­jor trad­ing part­ners holds up, though this trade re­port also gets a boost from a com­par­i­son with a low base last year. The of­fi­cial fac­tory gauge rose to a five-year high last month, and the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund this week raised its global growth fore­cast as well as its es­ti­mate for China.

Trade also has been look­ing bet­ter else­where across Asia. Ex­ports surged to records last month in both South Korea and Tai­wan, while Au­gust data has shown strength­en­ing in Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia and Thai­land. Still China, the world’s largest ex­porter, faces un­cer­tainty amid trade fric­tions with the United States and North Korean nu­clear ten­sions.

“The global econ­omy is do­ing bet- ter,” said se­nior China econ­o­mist Donna Kwok of UBS Group in Hong Kong in a Bloomberg TV in­ter­view. “Group of 3 de­mand, es­pe­cially for Chi­nese ex­ports, has strength­ened since the be­gin­ning of this year. At the start of the year you only had the US, and now you also have Eu- rope and Ja­pan do­ing bet­ter, too.”

China’s trade sur­plus with the US rose to the high­est record for any sin­gle month, based on Reuters cal­cu­la­tions from the Cus­toms data. The sur­plus in Septem­ber rose to US$28.08 bil­lion ver­sus US$26.23 bil­lion in the pre­vi­ous month.

China’s im­ports from North Korea fell for a sev­enth straight month last month, drop­ping 37.9 per cent year on year as Bei­jing en­forced the lat­est United Na­tions trade sanc­tions aimed at per­suad­ing Py­ongyang to rein in its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grammes.

PHOTO: REUTERS

With Septem­ber ex­ports in­creas­ing 8.1 per cent from a year ear­lier and im­ports grow­ing 18.7 per cent, China had a trade sur­plus of US$28.47 bil­lion (S$38.6 bil­lion) for the month, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

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