Monday, November 9, 2015

Disappointing Chinese export and import figures lead to record high trade balance

FXStreet (Mumbai) - China published its October trade data on 7th November. The disappointing Chinese trade data does nothing to comfort the already slowing economy. It points towards the need for further easing to inject capital into the system to ensure that trade picks up in the coming quarters.

Data showed a slowdown in the annual growth in China's exports and imports.

October exports fell 6.9 per cent from a year ago, dropping for a fourth month. Imports slipped too, sliding to a lowly 18.8 per cent. Combined exports and imports fell 8.5 per cent in the first 10 months of 2015 from the same period a year earlier.

The General Administration of Customs said the difference between the import and export figures resulted in a record high trade surplus of $61.64 billion.

Export and import disappoint

Saturday’s data showed exports rose 11.6 per cent in October from a year earlier, slightly above market expectations in a Reuters poll of a 10.6 per cent rise. In September exports had seen a 15.3 per cent jump.

Imports rose an annual 4.6 per cent in October, again a dip from a 7 per cent rise in September, and much weaker than expected.

Exports to the United States rose 10.9 per cent in October from a year earlier while exports to the European Union, the second-biggest market, grew 4.1 per cent, slowing sharply from a 14.9 per cent jump in September. China's exports to Hong Kong rose 24 per cent in October from a year earlier, slowing sharply from September's 34 per cent increase.

Customs data showed China's exports of precious metals and jewellery rose 187 per cent in October from a year earlier, slowing from a 678 per cent jump in September.
This fall in China's leading index on exports in October implies a weaker export growth in the next two to three months.

Trade balance at record high

The difference in September and October figures left the economy struggling with a record high trade surplus of $45.4 billion. Balance of Trade in China averaged 76.18 USD Hundred Million from 1983 until 2015, reaching an all-time high of 616.40 USD Hundred Million in October of 2015.

Trade target is likely to be missed for third consecutive year

The Ministry of Commerce stated that China's external trade environment may slightly improve in 2015. It will however face uncertainties, the Ministry said in its report. ."It's difficult for external demand to show a significant rebound," the ministry said. China looks like it will miss its trade growth target for a third consecutive year. The government had missed its targets of 8 per cent in 2013 and 10 per cent in 2012 and aims for 7.5 per cent growth this year.

What are the Chinese doing to boost trade?

In its effort to boost trade the cabinet unveiled detailed measures on Thursday to support imports of high-tech equipment, resource products and consumer goods. The government had also previously taken supportive steps to offer cheaper loans, tax breaks and currency hedging tools to exporters.

Several "targeted" policy stimulus have been unveiled since April. These include cutting reserve requirements for some banks, hastening construction of railways and public housing and allowing local governments to loosen property curbs.

More easing likely

China's economy is facing headwinds from both cooling exports and dip in investment. Chinese growth dipped to 6.9 per cent in the third quarter, dropping below the 7 per cent mark for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Data on factory output and investment to be released in the coming week is also expected to be disappointing thereby showing a persistent cooling in the economy.
The present scenario makes it necessary for the PBOC to further ease monetary policy. The central bank cut interest rates in late October for the sixth time in less than a year. It also guided the yuan to move weakly against the dollar.

However, the measures do not seem to be sufficient and the latest disappointing trade data reinstates views that the China needs to do more to give rise to more domestic demand and fight slowdown of the economy.
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