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China’s import, export figures running ahead of last year
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2015 file photo, container ships wait to be unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles. China has raised tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. imports in an escalation of their trade battle following a deadline for President Donald Trump’s latest increase. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

China’s import, export figures running ahead of last year

Shanghai : China’s trade volume from January through mid-November surpassed the full-year value for 2017, setting the stage for another record year in spite of rising challenges, customs figures showed on Saturday.

The General Administration of Customs (GAC) said the value was nearly 15 percent higher than the same period of 2017, without providing detailed figures.

Foreign trade stood at 27.79 trillion yuan ($4 trillion) in 2017, up 14.2 percent year-on-year.

Analysts said the statistics showed that China’s trade performance was still better than last year, even as Sino-U.S. trade friction intensified.

“The figures show the improvement of China’s opening-up level,” Chen Fengying, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Sunday.

She said that advance orders for the holidays and strong consumption in China help explain the statistics.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that China’s imports stood at 1.26 trillion yuan in October this year, up 26.3 percent from the same period last year.

Imports reached 11.7 trillion yuan in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 15.5 percent from the same period last year.

“The figures show the outbound markets were in a recovery, and the Chinese economy’s performance was better than before,” Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Wang added that the figures show the negative impact of the trade dispute has propelled entrepreneurs to “grab export orders” since mid-year, and the yuan’s depreciation also supported exports.

However, according to an NBS report in November, the trade boom may be running out of steam.

The new export order index stood at 47 for November while the import index was 47.1, both of which were below the neutral point of 50. These figures indicate that the downward pressure on imports and exports has increased recently amid weakening global economic conditions and increased trade friction, the NBS said.

Cheng also warned that the figures just released by Customs didn’t mean the external environment was improving or the economy was showing an upward trend.

Customs said earlier that although Sino-U.S. trade friction had a certain impact on foreign trade, the direct and indirect effects had been “generally controllable.