Chinese Exports Grow Faster Than Expected, While Imports Slow Down

·2 min read

By Gina Lee – Chinese exports grew faster than expected in September, with solid global demand taking some of the pressure off factories struggling with power shortages and outbreaks of COVID-19 cases.

Exports grew 28.1% year-on-year, with forecasts prepared for predicting a 21% growth and the 25.6% gain recorded during the previous month.

Although China took the lead in economic recovery from COVID-19, challenges such as the high demand for raw materials and supply chain bottlenecks have caused the recovery to slow down and dimmed the country’s economic outlook.

A move to transition to clean energy that led to power shortages, strong industrial demand, and high commodity prices have halted production at several factories, including some supplying firms such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA)

Imports grew 17.6% year-on-year, but the growth was lower than the 20% in forecasts prepared by and the previous month’s 33.1% growth. Meanwhile, China’s trade balance was at $66.76 billion, higher than the $46.80 billion in forecasts prepared by and the $58.34 billion surplus recorded in August.

The People’s Bank of China is also widely expected to inject more stimulus by cutting the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves later in 2021, in order to help small and medium-sized enterprises.

Although China has largely contained the latest COVID-19 outbreaks involving the more infectious Delta variant, its "zero-tolerance" COVID-19 policy and stretched international shipping capacity could be constraints, some investors told Reuters.

Meanwhile, China's trade surplus with the U.S. rose to $42 billion, according to Reuters calculations based on the customs data, and was up from $37.68 billion in August 2021.

Top U.S. and Chinese officials reviewed the implementation of the U.S.-China Economic and Trade Agreement last week. The U.S. has been pressing China to honor its commitments under the duo’s ‘Phase 1' trade deal which will expire at the end of 2021.

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