China's Exports Fall for Fourth Straight Month in August

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog07-09-2023

-China's exports fell 8.8% year-on-year to $284.9 billion in August, while imports fell 7.3% to $216.5 billion in the previous month

-China's trade surplus totaled $68.4 billion in August, down from $80.6 billion in July

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China's exports fell for a fourth straight month in August, driven by weak external demand and continued turmoil in global supply chains, posing more challenges for the world's second-largest economy as it struggles to recover from the epidemic.

Exports fell 8.8 percent year-on-year to $284.9 billion last month, according to customs data released on Thursday.

However, the decline narrowed from 14.5 percent in July and was higher than the 9.5 percent drop predicted by Chinese financial data provider Wind.

Meanwhile, imports fell 7.3% to $216.5 billion last month, narrowing from July's 12.4% decline and exceeding Wind's forecast of an 8.2% drop.

China's trade surplus totaled $68.4 billion in August, down from $80.6 billion in July.

Goldman Sachs economists said, "A normalization of the mid-July typhoon, which may have disrupted port operations in July, could boost trade growth in August."

Improved year-on-year growth in oil prices will also help import growth last month, they added.

Heron Lim, assistant director and economist at Moody's Analytics, said exports are expected to continue to decline due to weak new export orders as a result of the overall weakness in the global economy.

"But the growth rate will slow as trade performance has been weak since the second half of 2022," he said.

China's exports to most of its major trading partners continued to shrink, but the rate of decline narrowed from July, the data showed.

Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China's largest trading partner, fell 13.25 percent year-on-year, the fourth consecutive monthly decline.

Meanwhile, exports to the European Union fell 19.58 percent year-on-year, and exports to the U.S. declined for the 13th consecutive month after falling 9.53 percent.

Zhou Hao, chief economist at Guotai Junan International, said that while August's trade data was slightly better than expected, the overall momentum remained lukewarm.

"Overall, despite the slight improvement, the data still suggests headwinds remain," Zhou said.

"Looking ahead, whether China's trade growth has bottomed out will depend on several factors. The most important is obviously domestic demand, with recent real estate easing likely to provide some support in the short term.

"At the same time, higher oil prices suggest that import growth could pick up in the foreseeable future."

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