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China's imports and exports from January February 2021 far exceed expectations
Seetao 2021-03-08 17:15
  • The world economic situation is complex and severe, and China's foreign trade has a long way to go for steady growth
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On March 7, 2021, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs, China's import and export volume from January to February 2021 far exceeded market expectations, setting a new high in export growth since 1995. In addition, China's trade with major trading partners has seen substantial growth, indicating that China's integration with the world economy has further deepened.

The fastest export growth rate since 1995

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, the total value of China's trade in goods from January to February 2021 is 5.44 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 32.2% compared to 2020. Among them, exports were 3.06 trillion yuan, an increase of 50.1%; imports were 2.38 trillion yuan, an increase of 14.5%. In dollar terms, China's total import and export value increased by 41.2% in the first two months. Among them, exports increased by 60.6%, imports increased by 22.2%, and exports surged by 154% in February. This is the fastest growth rate China's exports have experienced since 1995.

ASEAN, the European Union, the United States and Japan are China's top four trading partners from January to February 2021, and the growth rate of trade with China in RMB terms is 32.9%, 39.8%, 69.6%, and 27.4%, respectively. According to data from the General Administration of Customs, China’s exports to the US in the first two months amounted to 525.39 billion yuan, an increase of 75.1%; the trade surplus with the US was 334.41 billion yuan, an increase of 88.2%. In the same period in 2020, imports and exports between China and the United States fell by 19.6%.

Taken together, China's import and export scale in the first two months of 2021 not only far exceeds the same period in 2020, but also has a growth rate of about 20% compared with the same period in 2018 and 2019 before the outbreak.

Huo Jianguo, vice chairman of the China World Trade Organization Research Association, said: “Due to the impact of the epidemic in the first two months of 2020, China’s imports and exports have shrunk. Based on a relatively low base, the import and export data in 2021 should have a better performance, but The data released by the General Administration of Customs still far exceeded expectations."

The General Administration of Customs believes that the surge in China's exports in the first two months of 2021 reflects the strong global demand for manufactured goods. It also benefits from the decline in the base due to the economic stagnation caused by the epidemic in the same period in 2020. China's foreign trade imports and exports increased significantly in the first two months. Continued the trend of rapid rebound since June 2020. Among them, the increase in external demand caused by the recovery of production and consumption in European and American economies has driven China's export growth.

Significant increase in imports of key raw materials

The domestic economy has continued to recover, and the manufacturing PMI has been above the line of prosperity for 12 consecutive months. Enterprises have become more optimistic about future expectations, which has promoted the import of integrated circuits, energy and resource products such as integrated circuits, iron ore, and crude oil. However, the violent fluctuations in the international prices of bulk commodities among different categories have also caused substantial changes in the volume and price of these commodities imported by China.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, in the first two months of 2021, China imported 182 million tons of iron ore, an increase of 2.8%, and the average import price was 942.1 yuan per ton, an increase of 46.7%; imported crude oil was 89.568 million tons, an increase of 4.1%. The average price was 2470.5 yuan per ton, down 27.5%, resulting in a 24.6% drop in the total value of imports.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, China imported 96.4 billion integrated circuits in the first two months of 2021, with a total value of 376.16 billion yuan. The quantity and amount have increased significantly by 36% and 25.9% respectively over the same period last year.

In terms of exports, since the global epidemic has not yet erupted in the same period in 2020, China's exports of medical instruments and equipment in the first two months of 2021 are 18.29 billion yuan, a significant increase of 63.8% compared to the 11.17 billion yuan in the same period in 2020. In addition, because China took the lead in effectively controlling the new crown epidemic, the resumption of work and production has been good, and exports of mobile phones, home appliances, and automobiles have risen sharply. Among them, mobile phone exports increased by 50%, and exports of home appliances and automobiles increased by 80% and 90% respectively.

Huo Jianguo analyzed that China's economy continues to improve, market confidence is restored, and enterprises are actively producing, which has greatly increased the purchase of key raw materials. In addition, because the foreign epidemic is still spreading and production capacity cannot be restored, China continues to play its role as a global manufacturing base to provide strong support for the recovery of the global epidemic.

The external situation is still grim

The General Administration of Customs of China believes that China's foreign trade has achieved a good start in the first two months, which is a good start for the whole year. The survey shows that the export orders of Chinese export companies have increased recently, and they have shown optimistic expectations for the export situation in the next 2-3 months. The vigorous development of Chinese exports has helped support the V-shaped recovery of the Chinese economy from the epidemic and promoted China to become the only country with positive growth among the world's major economies in 2020.

On March 5, the government work report pointed out that China's economic growth target for 2021 was set at more than 6%. Huo Jianguo said that because exports are included in GDP, the substantial increase in China's exports in the first two months has laid a solid foundation for achieving this full-year goal. However, the General Administration of Customs also reminded that the new crown pneumonia epidemic is still spreading around the world, unstable and uncertain factors in the international situation are increasing, the world economic situation is complex and severe, and China's foreign trade has a long way to go.

Huo Jianguo analyzed: "The factor affecting China's exports may be that after the epidemic is effectively controlled, global production capacity will recover, and China's exports may slow down as a result." Editor/Tian Zengpeng

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