Exports rose 25.6% in August from a year earlier to $294.3 billion, according to customs data published on Tuesday. Imports grew 33.1% to $236 billion in the same period. Both figures were the highest on record.
Large-scale growth compared to the 2020 figures worsened by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but August’s numbers were also well above economists’ expectations, and stronger than the gains seen in July.
For the first eight months of 2021, exports and imports grew by 34% and 35%, respectively, compared to the same period last year. China’s trade surplus increased by almost 30% to $362.5 billion.
The surprisingly solid trade data “points to resilience” in the Chinese economy, said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics.
“While near-term headwinds remain, supply constraints in China have eased and we expect a global economic recovery later this year and reducing China’s exports in 2022,” he wrote in a research report on Tuesday. Will continue.”
Exports were aided by shipments of electronics and home appliances. The United States was China’s top export market: the country bought a total of $51.7 billion in goods in August.
“The bottom line is that China’s trade data continues to act to cushion the impact of slowing domestic growth,” said Mitul Kotecha, chief emerging Asia and Europe strategist at TD Securities.
The Chinese economy has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than other major economies.
Trade was also a big concern. Last month, authorities closed part of the world’s third-largest container port – Ningbo-Zhoushan Port – for weeks after a dock worker tested positive for Covid. The port handles goods that fill approximately 78,000 20-foot containers each day. This raised concerns that it could increase congestion at Chinese ports and add additional disruption to an already stretched supply chain.
But economists at Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday that the port disruption in Ningbo has a “limited impact” on trade activity.
This was “likely because lockdown restrictions at ports were relatively targeted and throughput volumes were redirected to nearby ports,” he said in a research note.