China trade surplus falls 29.6 percent, imports up

China trade surplus falls 29.6 percent, imports up

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China’s July trade surplus fell 29.6 percent year-on-year to $17.8 billion, government data showed yesterday as a bigger-than-expected gain in imports outpaced one in exports.

Exports increased 5.1 percent year-on-year to $186.0 billion, according to figures from Customs, while imports rose 10.9 percent to $168.2 billion.

The results marked a rebound in trade in both directions after exports and imports declined in June, with the gain in imports being the first since April.

Two-way trade rose 7.8 percent year-on-year, slightly lower than the government’s eight percent growth target for this year but “showing a stabilising and recovering trend”, according to Customs.

The figures surprised economists. A survey of 14 economists by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast exports to gain a median 2.8 percent and imports to rise 1.3 percent. The median prediction for the trade surplus was $27.2 billion.

Puzzling data

The trade data come after mixed messages on China’s economy last week when private and official surveys of
the country’s important manufacturing sector showed differing results.

British banking giant HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index indicated contraction while the government’s showed a surprise expansion.

China’s economy managed growth of 7.8 percent in 2012, its slowest since 1999.

The economy has since weakened further, with growth in the April-June period dipping to 7.5 percent, from 7.7 percent in the first quarter and 7.9 percent in October-December.

Yao warned that uncertainties would remain in the fourth quarter as authorities turned cautious about credit expansion.