Business / Economy

Trade surplus skyrockets to hit monthly record

By Zhou Huiying and Mu Chen (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-09 07:40

Trade surplus skyrockets to hit monthly record

A truck carrying goods goes through customs at the Suifenhe-Pogranichnyy Port in Heilongjiang province on Thursday. [Wang Zhen / China Daily]

China's trade surplus surged to a monthly record high in July as export growth unexpectedly accelerated and imports fell, suggesting the recoveries in the United States and Europe will help sustain expansion in the world's second-largest economy.

Overseas shipments increased 14.5 percent from a year earlier, the Beijing-based customs administration said on Friday, beating all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey that had a median projection of 7 percent. Imports dropped 1.6 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $47.3 billion, bigger than all analyst estimates.

Sales to the biggest markets of the US and Europe surged, indicating strength in demand that will reduce pressure on Premier Li Keqiang to expand stimulus measures in the second half to bolster growth. The report contrasts with the International Monetary Fund's estimate last month of a slowdown in the US economy that accompanied a cut in its global growth outlook.

"Exports have become a particularly important factor supporting Premier Li's 7.5 percent growth target," said Dong Tao, chief regional economist for Asia excluding Japan at Credit Suisse Group AG in Hong Kong. "Exports may continue to grow at a double-digit rate, or at least close to double digits, in the coming months."

The record high trade surplus in July and an anticipated improvement in trade will help to support a "steady yet small" appreciation in the yuan, Tao said.

The Shanghai Composite Index reversed losses to gain 0.3 percent at the close. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks was down 1.4 percent in Tokyo.

The pickup in exports follows June's 7.2 percent increase and compares with analysts' estimates for gains ranging from 2.9 percent to 10 percent. The median projection for imports was a 2.6 percent increase, after a 5.5 percent jump in June, and the trade surplus was forecast at $27.4 billion, following $31.6 billion the previous month.

China's exports to the European Union rose 17 percent in July from a year earlier and shipments to the US jumped 12.3 percent, the biggest gain since November, based on customs data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales to countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gained 11.9 percent.

The trade surplus for the first seven months widened to $150.6 billion from $125.9 billion in the same period last year. The previous monthly record was $40.1 billion in November 2008.

The excess in July may partly reflect capital inflows, though there's no clear evidence of that, Hua Changchun, China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc in Hong Kong, said.

The surplus suggests pressure on the yuan to appreciate will probably increase if the central bank doesn't actively intervene in the foreign-exchange market, economists at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd wrote in a report after the release.

Trade surplus skyrockets to hit monthly record

Trade surplus skyrockets to hit monthly record

China's export beats forecast, surplus at new high Paring off time

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