The value of China’s goods exports in January-March climbed to $710 billion, an increase of 50 % y-o-y and 30 % more than in the first quarter of 2019. The value of goods imports rose to $590 billion at a pace grew slightly lower than exports (28 % y-o-y and 25 % from 1Q19). The goods trade surplus in the first quarter rose to $120 billion. Foreign trade growth was accelerated by recovery of China’s domestic economy and the global recovery from the pandemic. At the same time, demand for Chinese covid-related products and devices remained strong.
Growth in foreign trade has been geographically broad-based. Goods exports to the United States rose by 75 % y-o-y in the first quarter and 30 % from the first quarter of 2019. The value of imports rose by 70 % y-o-y and by 63 % from the first quarter of 2019. China’s US imports were still running at levels considerably below what the parties had committed to a year ago when they signed their phase 1 trade agreement. China’s goods trade surplus with the US continues to increase. The value of imports from the EU was up by 33 % y-o-y and up 24 % the first quarter of 2019. China’s exports to the EU have grown somewhat faster than imports.
China’s goods trade and trade surplus have risen over the past year
Sources: China Customs, CEIC and BOFIT.