December trade data, imports and exports

Containers are installed at Yangshan Port in Shanghai, China, August 6, 2019.

Aly Song | Reuters

BEIJING — China’s exports rose slightly more than expected in December, while imports rose less than expected, according to customs data released Friday.

Exports rose 20.9% year-on-year in US dollars, above the 20% increase predicted by a Reuters poll.

Imports rose 19.5% in US dollars, missing expectations of a 26.3% increase.

The December figure also marked a sharp slowdown from November, when imports rose 31.7% year-on-year. Exports were up 22% year-on-year in November.

“We expect China’s exports to remain strong in the first quarter due to resilient global demand and the worsening pandemic in many developing countries,” said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist, Pinpoint. Asset Management, in a note.

“Currently, strong exports may be the only driver helping the Chinese economy. We expect infrastructure investment to be the second driver to pick up in the coming months,” he said.

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US trade with China is booming

The United States remained China’s largest trading partner on a one-country basis. Only two regions, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union, traded more with China in 2021, the data showed.

Exports to the United States increased 27.5% for the year to $576.11 billion, while imports rose 32.7% to $179.53 billion for the year, according to customs data.

This meant that for 2021, China’s trade surplus with the United States was $396.58 billion, marking the second straight year the surplus has increased since falling between 2018 and 2019 amid trade tensions. with the United States.

China’s trade with Australia grew last year despite tensions between the two countries. Chinese exports to Australia increased by 24.2%, while imports soared by 40%.

China’s crude oil imports in December rose 19.9% ​​year-on-year to 46.14 million tonnes, but declined for the year as a whole.

Coal imports in December peaked in November as the power shortage eased, and fell 20.8% from a year ago to 30.95 million tons. Natural gas imports rose 3.8% from a year ago in December to 11.65 million tonnes.

China’s soybean imports rose nearly 18% from a year ago in December to 8.87 million tonnes.

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