China reports better-than-expected trade data

Beijing, Jan 13 (IANS) China on Wednesday reported better-than-expected trade data in December, with exports in yuan-denominated terms posting an unexpected rise while an import slump moderated.

Exports in yuan-denominated terms climbed 2.3 percent year on year in December, compared with November’s 3.7-percent drop, while imports declined four percent, an improvement over the previous month’s 5.6-percent fall, leaving a widening trade surplus of 382.1 billion yuan ($57.9 billion), according to data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

“A return to growth for exports after five months of contraction is a reassuring sign, and further evidence that the economy is not teetering on the brink,” Bloomberg economist Tom Orlik said in a report to clients.

Total foreign trade values in December edged down 0.5 percent year on year to 2.48 trillion yuan, reports Xinhua.

For the whole year of 2015, exports fell 1.8 percent year on year to 14.14 trillion yuan, while imports declined 13.2 percent to 10.45 trillion yuan.

That led to a 2015 trade surplus of 3.69 trillion yuan, an increase of 56.7 percent from a year earlier, data showed.

Last year, the country’s total export and import values decreased 7 percent year on year to 24.59 trillion yuan.

GAC spokesperson Huang Songping attributed the foreign trade decline in 2015 mainly to falling commodity prices and sluggish demand.

Crude oil imports in 2015 rose 8.8 percent to 334 million tonnes while that of iron ore climbed 2.2 percent to 953 million tonnes, GAC reported.

Huang warned about upcoming difficulties, saying feeble global economic growth and sluggish external demand would not see evident improvement in 2016.

In dollar-denominated terms, China’s exports fell for the sixth consecutive month, by 1.4 percent from one year earlier in December, but the pace of fall decelerated from November’s 6.8 percent decline.

Imports decreased 7.6 percent year on year, receding for 14th consecutive month, but improving from the previous month’s 8.7-percent drop.

Economists had forecast an eight-percent fall for exports in December and an 11-percent decline for imports.

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