China’s foreign trade rose 16.6% in July, thwarting fears of a slowdown

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Containers are loaded onto barges at a port in Jiaxing, east China’s Zhejiang Province, June 16, 2022. The throughput of containers that have been shipped between ocean vessels and river vessels has seen a sharp 69.4% year-on-year increase in the first five months of 2022, according to Ningbo Zhoushan Port Group. Photo: Courtesy of Ningbo Zhoushan Port Group

China’s foreign trade maintained double-digit growth in July at 16.6% year-on-year, official data showed on Sunday, underscoring the resilience of China’s giant export machine and thwarting widespread fears of a slowdown due to cooling global consumer demand in an environment of high inflation. as well as growing geopolitical uncertainties.

Experts noted that China’s strong import and export performance will provide impetus to the country’s economic recovery in the second half of the year, while easing market concerns about a global economic recession.

According to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Sunday, the country’s foreign trade totaled 3.81 trillion yuan ($563.5 billion) in July, an increase of 16.6 percent year on year. .

In the first seven months, the country’s foreign trade volume reached 23.6 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 10.4 percent, faster than the 9.4 percent growth rate seen in the first half. according to the GAC.

“The better-than-expected data reflects that pent-up growth momentum is being released throughout the year after the fallout from the resurgence of COVID-19 in the spring was overcome,” Bai Ming, deputy director of the Institute of international market research at the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Bai said a series of measures, including special relief for small and medium-sized businesses and tax cuts, as well as the depreciation of the Chinese yuan and a significant drop in shipping costs, have contributed to the acceleration of growth in July.

Steady growth in throughput at Chinese ports is also underpinning the strong rebound in the country’s foreign trade sector. According to data from the China Ports and Ports Association, container throughput at eight coastal container hub ports increased 12.7% year-on-year in July, while Shanghai Port and Ningbo Port – Zhoushan – two of the country’s largest ports – saw their container throughput increase by 16.8% and 25% year-on-year, respectively.

Between January and July, China’s trade with its three main trading partners – ASEAN, the EU and the United States – increased by 13.2%, 8.9% and 11.8% respectively in year-on-year. Trade with Belt and Road partners jumped 19.8 percent year-on-year, while trade with the 14 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) economies rose 7.5 percent from January to July , according to the GAC.

China’s robust trade growth with these countries and regions is a slap in the face for some Western media outlets who have claimed that overseas demand for Chinese goods will decline in the second half as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and major economies stagnate. , noted experts. .

In July, China’s exports rose 23.9 percent year on year to 2.25 trillion yuan, while imports rose 7.4 percent year on year to 1.56 trillion yuan. The trade surplus increased by 90.9% year on year, standing at a high level.

Zhou Maohua, macroeconomic analyst at Everbright Bank, told the Global Times that imports by domestic enterprises are being affected by high energy and commodity prices as the domestic economy continues to recover amid uncertainties. global economic conditions also affect their confidence.

Tian Yun, a Beijing-based economist, told the Global Times on Sunday that the large trade surplus also indicates that the severity of global inflation and supply shortages caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Western sanctions and the restructuring of the global supply chain has gone beyond expectations.

“If the trend continues, the foreign trade sector could push up China’s GDP growth rate by 1 percentage point,” Tian said.

Looking ahead, Bai said the possibility of the United States lifting some tariffs imposed on Chinese exports and the dividends brought by RCEP will continue to boost China’s foreign trade in the second half of the year.

However, growing uncertainties and challenges such as economic contraction in Europe and the United States as well as growing competition from Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam could increase the pressure on Chinese exports, he said. he declares.

Amid lingering uncertainty, China will implement a series of measures to stabilize and improve the quality of foreign trade in the second half of the year to shore up its resilience, Commerce Ministry spokesperson Shu Jueting said at a meeting. a recent press briefing. .

Officials will work to guide foreign trade enterprises in exploring and expanding the international market, and the country will continue to hold international exhibitions, such as the China International Import Expo and Import Fair. and export trade from China, and will encourage localities and industry associations to hold online exhibitions, she said.

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