China’s trade slumps in first two months of 2023

In yuan terms, total trade in the first two months came in at 6.18 trillion yuan (USD 890.5 billion), edging down 0.8 per cent year-on-year…reports Asian Lite News

China on Tuesday released the two-month data on a combined basis to smooth the impact of the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at different times during the first two months, Global Times reported.

In yuan terms, total trade in the first two months came in at 6.18 trillion yuan (USD 890.5 billion), edging down 0.8 per cent year-on-year. Exports saw a slight increase of 0.9 per cent while imports went down 2.9 per cent, according to the customs data. China’s dollar-denominated foreign trade hit USD 895.72 billion in the January-February period, down 8.3 per cent on a yearly basis. Exports fell 6.8 per cent while imports were down 10.2 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the General Administration of Customs accessed by Global Times.

In the first two months, exports of mechanical and electrical products stood at 2.03 trillion yuan, an increase of 0.4 per cent, accounting for 58 per cent of the total export value, while exports of labour-intensive products like clothes and shoes dropped by 7.4 per cent year-on-year, according to Global Times.

Also, the private sector is playing a bigger role. The total trade of such companies reached 3.16 trillion yuan in the first two months, up 5.3 per cent, the Global Times’ report said. This segment of trade accounted for 51.2 per cent of China’s total foreign trade, up 3 percentage points from last year.

State-owned enterprises’ exports rose 5.3 per cent, while those of foreign-funded firms tumbled 12.2 per cent.

According to Global Times, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) remains China’s top trading partner during the first two months, with total trade rising 9.6 per cent to 951.93 billion yuan, accounting for 15.4 per cent of the country’s total trade.

The EU came second with 851.09 billion yuan, down 2.6 per cent, while the US was third with 702.98 billion yuan, down 10.6 per cent.

High inflation and high-interest rates in major overseas economies have had a negative impact on consumer confidence and spending power there, limiting their imports. Considering the high base in 2022, China’s foreign trade growth will face some pressure this year, experts said.

Demand for Chinese goods from the US and Europe may rebound in the second half of the year, according to China Merchants Securities. (ANI)

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