Business / Economy

China reports decent exports, weak imports and record high surplus again

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-08 17:05

BEIJING - China's monthly trade surplus hit a record high again in August, as improving external demand fueled exports and weak domestic investment and falling commodity prices continued to affect imports, new customs data showed on Monday.

China's trade surplus in August jumped 77.8 percent year-on-year to $49.8 billion, after reaching an all-time high of $47.3 billion in July.

According to the General Administration of Customs (GAC), China exported $208 billion worth of goods in August, up 9.4 percent year-on-year, slightly above the market consensus of 9.0 percent.

The export growth was significantly lower than the 14.5 percent rise in July, but higher than June's 7.2 percent.

August's imports continued to contract and stood at $159 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 2.4 percent, compared to the 1.6 percent drop in July and the market consensus projection of a 3.0 percent rise.

For the first eight months, exports gained 3.8 percent to $1.48 trillion, while imports edged up by a mere 0.6 percent to $1.28 trillion.

Trade surplus stood at $200 billion in the first eight months, an increase of 30.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the GAC.

Li Jian of the Ministry of Commerce, said trade with major partners including the EU, the United States and ASEAN continued to grow last month, suggesting that recovery of external demand since the second quarter of this year has further consolidated.

Customs data showed that China's exports to the US and EU in August rose 11.4 percent and 12.5 percent year-on-year, respectively, down from 12.3 percent and 17.0 percent, respectively in July.

August's exports to ASEAN accelerated to 13.0 percent from 11.9 percent in July.

Continued weakness in imports is consistent with soft domestic demand. This is attributable to the continued property market correction and industry overcapacity, which have weighed on property and manufacturing investment, Barclays chief China economist Chang Jian said in a note.

Kevin Lai, China economist with Daiwa Capital Markets, agreed.

"The fall in imports reflects poor domestic-demand conditions in general. The malaise in the real-estate market is affecting many industries that need imports of raw materials," Lai said.

Lu Ting, chief China economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, offered a different explanation, however.

"The poor import growth readings were no doubt affected by China's weak investment demand to some extent. But the major factors, in our view, are falling commodity prices and a reversal of commodity financing deals," he said.

China reports decent exports, weak imports and record high surplus again

China reports decent exports, weak imports and record high surplus again

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