China monthly trade surplus surges to record $97.9 bln as exports accelerate

China’s monthly trade surplus soared to a record $97.9 billion in June as export growth accelerated following the easing of anti-virus controls that temporarily shut down Shanghai and disrupted trade.

Exports rose 17.9 percent to $331.2 billion, up from May’s 16.9 percent, customs data showed Wednesday. Imports rose just 1 percent to $233.3 billion in a sign of weak domestic demand.

With almost no growth in imports, China’s global trade surplus swelled by 90 percent compared with a year ago.

Exports to the United States surged 19.3 percent over a year ago to $56 billion despite lingering tariff hikes in a trade war over Beijing’s technology ambitions. Imports of American goods edged up 1.7 percent to $14.6 billion.

China’s politically volatile trade surplus with the United States widened by 26 percent from a year earlier to $41.4 billion. It was among irritants that prompted then-President Donald Trump to launch the trade fight by hiking import taxes.

China’s trade has been dampened by weak global demand and anti-virus curbs in Shanghai, site of the world’s busiest port, and other cities. Consumer demand was crushed by rules that confined millions of families to their homes.

Forecasters have cut estimates for China’s economic growth to as low as 2 percent this year, well below the ruling Communist Party’s target of 5.5 percent. Some expect activity to shrink in the quarter ending in June before a gradual recovery begins.

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