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China’s February Exports Rise 48.9%

Font Size: [Big][Mid][Small] Mar 9,2015    Views: 743    

China’s exports surged in February, exceeding all estimates as the economy benefited from U.S. growth and worked through data distortions linked to the Chinese New Year holiday and a crackdown on fake invoicing.

Exports gained more than 48 percent from a year earlier, the customs administration said in Beijing on Sunday. That compared with the median estimate for a 14 percent jump in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Imports slid more than 20 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $60.6 billion.

A recovering U.S. has helped underpin China’s economy as it seeks to cut down excess capacity and transition to a reliance on domestic demand rather than infrastructure investment. Today’s skewed numbers also reflect other factors, including the timing of the lunar new year holiday, plunging commodity prices and an effort to clamp down on capital outflows via faked trade receipts.

“The U.S. is the single most important propeller, and Chinese exports basically follow the U.S. economy,” said Larry Hu, head of China Economics at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. Hu estimates that a 3 percent expansion in the American economy will add an additional 0.5 to 1 percentage point to China’s growth by boosting the exports by 8 to 9 percent.

Exports to the U.S. in the first two months jumped 21 percent in yuan terms. Shipments to Association of Southeast Asian Nations also increased in January and February, rising 38 percent.

Growth Target

On March 5, Premier Li Keqiang announced a 2015 growth target of 7 percent, the lowest set in more than 15 years. In his work report delivered to China’s legislature, Li also flagged increasing headwinds for the world’s second-largest economy such as overcapacity and insufficient innovation.

“Chinese exports are humming along, which is a relief as the domestic investment momentum is struggling,” said Yao Wei, a Paris-based China economist at Societe Generale SA.

The government set the expansion goal for total trade at 6 percent in its work report, down from last year’s 7.5 percent. Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Saturday that he is “confident” to accomplish the target.

The drop in imports was sharper than the median estimate of a 10 percent decline, signaling continued weakness in internal demand as well as the fall in commodity prices. Stronger exports may also help China to get rid of a investment-driven growth model.

Infrastructure Investment

“The Chinese government will try its best to achieve the growth goal of about 7 percent,” Hu said. “If exports are good, they can do less in other aspects such as infrastructure investment.”

The trade surplus today compared with a $6 billion median estimate. The larger balance will add uncertainty to the Chinese currency.

“An extraordinary growth of exports could be due to the base effect — the February 2014 figures were extremely low as Chinese authorities cracked down on the round-tripping trade flows,” Liu Ligang and Zhou Hao at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Hong Kong wrote in a note.

                                                                                                                                              Source from : Bloomberg

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