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China’s Exports Grow for First Time in Six Months

Last Updated on 2023/12/07

China’s Export Market: From Slump to Slight Growth Amidst Economic Pressure.

In November 2021, China’s exports experienced growth for the first time in six months, indicating a positive shift for the nation’s manufacturing sector. This development comes as a relief for factories facing a prolonged demand slump, with exporters using discount pricing strategies to attract buyers.

Export and Import Data

The export growth was a modest 0.5% year-on-year in November, as per customs data. This contrasts with a 6.4% decline in October, surpassing the 1.1% drop forecasted in a Reuters poll. Conversely, imports decreased by 0.6%, which was against the expectations of a 3.3% increase. This change followed a 3.0% rise in the previous month.

Analysis by Economists

Economists like Zhiwei Zhang, the chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, acknowledge the improvement in exports aligning with market expectations. Zhang notes that sequential growth in China’s exports has been strengthening over recent months. The Baltic Dry Index, a global trade indicator, reached a three-year high in November, supported by increased demand for industrial commodities, notably from China.

Global Trade Indicators

The health of global trade, as reflected in South Korean exports, also saw a rise for a second consecutive month in November, buoyed by chip exports ending a 15-month decline. Trade with major partners like the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan showed positive trends.

Discounted Exports and Manufacturing Pressure

Despite the positive export data, Chinese manufacturers are still under pressure. The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) indicated shrinking new export orders for nine consecutive months. According to Zichun Huang, an economist at Capital Economics, the high export volumes were supported by price reductions by exporters. However, Huang expresses doubts about the sustainability of this trend.

Economic Outlook and Recovery

Analysts have mixed views on the sustainability of the recent uptick in overseas demand and the effectiveness of policy support in bolstering domestic demand. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgraded its growth forecasts for China in 2023 and 2024, but concerns remain. Moody’s issued a downgrade warning on China’s A1 credit rating, reflecting market cautiousness.

Market Reactions

Following the export data release, the Chinese yuan weakened against the dollar. The CSI300 stock index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also experienced declines.

Future Concerns

Despite the improved export demand, experts like Zhang from Pinpoint Asset Management caution about the reliance on exports as a growth pillar for the upcoming year. With cooling economies in Europe and the United States, China’s focus may need to shift more towards domestic demand for growth in 2024.

Topics: Impact of China’s export growth on global trade, Chinese manufacturing sector’s recovery, economic implications of China’s export data, November export trends in China
Source: Reuters

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