FILE – In this June 4, 2021, file photo, gantry cranes move containers onto transporters at a port in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province. China’s exports surged in June while import growth slowed to a still-robust level as its economic rebound from the coronavirus leveled off. (Chinatopix via AP, File) business
By JOE McDONALD – Japan Today
China’s exports surged in June while import growth slowed to a still-robust level as its economic rebound from the coronavirus leveled off.
Exports rose 32.2% from a year earlier to $281.4 billion, accelerating from May’s 28% growth, customs data showed Tuesday. Imports grew 36.7% to $229.9 billion, but that was down from the previous month’s explosive 51% rise.
China led the global recovery from the pandemic, but domestic consumer and other economic activity is slowing.
Chinese exporters benefited from the relatively early reopening of the economy while foreign competitors still faced anti-virus shutdowns. Growth is expected to moderate as global activity returns to normal.
Exports to the United States rose 17.8% over a year ago to $46.9 billion while imports of American goods grew 37.6% to $14.3 billion despite tariff hikes still in place in a lingering trade war.
China’s global trade surplus swelled 11% over a year earlier to $51.5 billion. The politically sensitive surplus with the United States expanded 10.9% to $32.6 billion.
President Joe Biden, who took office in January, says he wants better relations with Beijing but has yet to indicate whether he will roll back tariff hikes imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in a fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions.
Trade envoys from the two governments have talked by video link but have set no date to resume negotiations.
Chinese economic growth soared to 18.3% over a year earlier in the first three months of 2021 as consumer and business activity revived. However, growth compared with the previous quarter at the end of 2020 was just 0.6%, showing the rebound was flattening out.
Growth is expected to cool to about 7% over a year earlier in the three months that ended in June and further through next year. To shore up activity, the central bank last week cut the amount of reserves commercial banks are required to hold, freeing up an additional 1 trillion yuan ($160 billion) for lending.
Some forecasters warn a recovery still isn’t certain because global demand is weak as some governments re-impose anti-disease curbs that are disrupting business, travel and trade.
June exports to the 27-nation European Union rose 27% from a year ago to $43.1 billion while imports of French, German and other European goods climbed 34.1% to $27.7 billion.
The Chinese trade surplus with the EU widened by 16.7% over a year earlier to $15.4 billion.
General Administration of Customs of China (in Chinese): www.customs.gov.cn