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China's export growth sinks in August, imports shrink due to inflation

China's global trade surplus widened by 36.1% over a year earlier to USD 79.4 billion

China | Export | imports

AP  |  Beijing 

Chinese Economy

China's trade weakened in August as high energy prices, inflation and anti-virus measures weighed on global and Chinese consumer demand, while of Russian oil and gas surged.

Exports rose 7% over a year ago to USD 314.9 billion, decelerating from July's 18% expansion, customs data showed Wednesday. contracted by 0.2% to USD 235.5 billion, compared with the previous month's already weak 2.3% growth.

Demand for Chinese exports has softened as Western economies cool and the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia raise interest rates to contain surging inflation. At home, repeated closures of Chinese cities to fight virus outbreaks has weighed on consumers' willingness to spend.

The slowdown in China's sector is adding to headwinds for the Chinese economy, said Rajiv Biswas of S&P Global Market Intelligence in a report. Lack of import growth highlights continued weakness of Chinese domestic demand.

Growth in the world's second-largest fell to 2.5% in the first half of 2022, less than half the ruling Communist Party's 5.5% annual target, after Shanghai and other industrial centers were shut down to fight virus outbreaks.

Factories have reopened, but restrictions more recently in areas including the southern business center of Shenzhen weighed on activity. So has a dry summer that left reservoirs in the southwest unable to generate hydropower and disrupted river shipping.

The Monetary Fund and private sector forecasters have trimmed their already low growth forecasts.

China's global trade surplus widened by 36.1% over a year earlier to USD 79.4 billion.

Exports to the United States sank 3.8% from a year ago to USD 49.8 billion while of American goods declined 7.3% to USD 13 billion. The politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States that helped to spark a tariff war narrowed by 2.4% to USD 36.7 billion.

President Joe Biden has left in place tariff hikes imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in a fight over Beijing's technology development tactics. Beijing retaliated by raising its own import duties and told Chinese companies to stop buying American exports.

Envoys from the two sides talk by phone but have yet to announce a date to resume negotiations.

Imports from Russia, mostly oil and gas, surged 59.3% to USD 11.2 billion as appeared to take advantage of discounts offered by the Kremlin to attract buyers in the face of Western sanctions over its war on Ukraine.

China's purchases of Russian energy irritate Washington and its allies but don't violate sanctions on Moscow. Last year, bought 20% of Russian crude exports, according to the Energy Agency.

Beijing declared ahead of the February invasion that it had a no limits friendship with Moscow. It criticises the sanctions but has avoided helping President Vladimir Putin for fear of losing access to Western markets and the global banking system.

Exports to Russia rose 26.5% to $8 billion.

Exports to the 27-nation European Union tumbled 18.4% to USD 51.3 billion, reflecting weak European demand.

Imports of European goods plunged 33.1% to USD 26 billion. China's trade surplus with Europe widened by 5.4% to USD 25.3 billion.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, September 07 2022. 19:23 IST