China's trade surplus plunged to USD 13.84 billion in April 2019 from USD 26.21 billion in the same month a year earlier and missing market consensus of a surplus of USD 35.0 billion. Year-on-year, imports advanced by 4.0 percent to USD 179.65 billion, while export fell 2.7 percent to USD 193.49 billion. Considering the first four months of the year, the trade surplus widened to USD 90.16 billion from USD 70.94 billion in the corresponding period 2018. The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, was at USD 21.01 billion in April, little-changed from a surplus USD 20.50 billion in March. Balance of Trade in China averaged 96.90 USD HML from 1981 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 612.86 USD HML in October of 2015 and a record low of -320.02 USD HML in February of 2012.

Balance of Trade in China is expected to be 370.00 USD HML by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Balance of Trade in China to stand at 150.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the China Balance of Trade is projected to trend around 110.00 USD HML in 2020, according to our econometric models.

China Balance of Trade
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Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2019-02-14 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $39.16B $57.06B $33.5B $36B
2019-03-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $4.12B $39.59B $26.38B $21B
2019-04-12 06:30 AM Balance of Trade $32.64B $4.08B $7.05B $10B
2019-05-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $13.84B $32.67B $35B $22B
2019-06-10 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $13.83B $25B
2019-07-12 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $37B
2019-08-08 03:00 AM Balance of Trade $21B



China April Trade Surplus Far Below Estimates

China's trade surplus fell to USD 13.84 billion in April 2019 from USD 26.21 billion in the same month a year earlier and missing market consensus of a surplus of USD 35.0 billion. Year-on-year, imports advanced 4.0 percent to USD 179.65, while export fell 2.7 percent to USD 193.49 billion. The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, was at USD 21.01 billion in April, little-changed from a surplus USD 20.50 billion in March.

Imports surprisingly rose by 4 percent year-on-year to USD 179.65 billion in April, against market expectations of a 3.6 percent fall and reversing from a 7.6 percent drop in the previous month. This marked the first yearly increase in inbound shipments since November last year. Purchases of crude oil surged 11 percent year-on-year to a record high of 43.73 million tonnes, equal to 10.64 million barrels per day/bpd, and rose by 15 percent from March's 9.26 million bpd. Also, total natural gas imports went up 12 percent year-on-year to 7.65 million tonnes, and grew by 10.2 percent from March's 6.94 million tonnes. In addition, inbound shipments of soybeans expanded 10.7 percent from the prior year to 7.64 million tonnes, with buyers delaying cargoes to arrive in April to take advantage of a cut in the value-added tax/VAT on agricultural products effective from 1st April; and soared 55 percent month-over-month from 4.92 million in March. As part of a trade conflict with the US, China slapped a 25 percent tariff on US soybeans last July. The US and Brazil were the two largest suppliers of soybeans to China until the start of the trade row. In contrast, China's iron ore imports fell to the lowest in 1-1/2 years, as poor weather in Brazil, the country's second-largest supplier, disrupted shipments; and as some mining production halted their production following recent accident. Inbound shipments of coal went up 13.6 percent to 25.3 million tonnes. Additionally, purchases of unwrought copper decreased 8.4 percent to 405,000 tonnes, but rose 3.6 percent from the prior's month 391,000 tonnes.

Among China's biggest trade partners, purchases grew mainly from Japan (1.4 percent), the EU (4.4 percent), Australia (18 percent) and the ASEAN countries (10.4 percent), while contracted from the US (-25.7 percent), South Korea (-2.4 percent), and Taiwan (-6.8 percent).

Exports unexpectedly declined by 2.7 percent to USD 193.49 billion, swinging from a 14.2 percent jump in the previous month and missing market estimates of a 2.3 percent growth. The latest reading on overseas sales reflected weakening global demand as well as renewed trade dispute with the US, at which higher tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese goods will soon take effect. Sales of steel products fell 2.3 percent to 6.33 million tonnes and were unchanged from the previous month. Additionally, exports of coal declined 2.0 percent to 0.50 million tonnes, and dropped 12.3 percent from March's 0.57 million tonnes. Meanwhile, sales of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products went up 10.4 percent from a year earlier to 498,000 tonnes in March, but declined 8.8 percent from February's 546,000 tonnes. Also, exports of rice jumped 112.7 percent to 357,000 tonnes and climbed 84.7 percent from the prior month's 190,000 tonnes. 

Sales declined to the US (-13.2 percent), Japan (-16.4 percent), South Korea (-7.7 percent), and Australia (-13.8 percent), while went up to Taiwan (4.6 percent), the EU (6.2 percent), and the ASEAN countries (0.4 percent).

For the January to April period, the trade surplus with the US was recorded at USD 83.66 billion.
Considering the first four months of the year, China's trade surplus widened to USD 90.16 billion from USD 70.94 billion in the corresponding period 2018.

In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 93.57 billion in April, as exports grew by 3.1 percent while imports expanded at a faster 10.3 percent.


General Administration of Customs l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
5/8/2019 9:14:21 AM



China Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 138.34 324.19 612.86 -320.02 USD HML [+]
Current Account 586.00 545.99 1330.85 -341.00 USD HML [+]
Current Account to GDP 0.40 1.30 10.10 -3.70 percent [+]
Imports 1796.48 1655.26 1951.30 13.88 USD HML [+]
Exports 1934.81 1979.45 2315.23 12.50 USD HML [+]
External Debt 19652.14 17106.00 19652.14 158.28 USD HML [+]
Terms of Trade 100.20 104.38 118.33 81.75 Index Points [+]
Capital Flows -586.00 -546.00 725.40 -1305.58 USD HML [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 451.40 357.95 1349.66 18.32 USD HML [+]
Tourist Arrivals 3054.00 2917.00 3054.00 22.96 Tens of Thousands [+]
Gold Reserves 1864.30 1852.50 1864.30 395.01 Tonnes [+]
Crude Oil Production 3812.00 3845.00 4408.00 1012.00 BBL/D/1K [+]
Tourism Revenues 5.97 5.40 5.97 4.13 CNY Trillion [+]
Terrorism Index 5.11 5.54 6.29 1.47 [+]
Weapons Sales 1131.00 2192.00 2606.00 3.00 USD Million [+]

Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category



China Balance of Trade

Since 1995, China has been recording consistent trade surpluses which from 2004 to 2009 has increased 10 times. In 2018, China posted a trade surplus of USD 351.76 billion, the lowest since 2013, as exports increased 9.9 percent, its strongest performance in seven years, while imports were up 15.8 percent. The biggest trade surpluses were recorded with Hong Kong, the US, the Netherlands, India, the UK, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. China recorded trade deficits with Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Brazil and South Africa. This page provides - China Balance of Trade - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news. China Balance of Trade - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on May of 2019.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
138.34 324.19 612.86 -320.02 1981 - 2019 USD HML Monthly
Current Prices, NSA




Country Last Previous
Argentina 1131.00 Apr/19
Australia 4949.00 Mar/19
Brazil 6060.00 Apr/19
Canada -3211.20 Mar/19
China 138.34 Apr/19
Euro Area 22532.90 Mar/19
France -5324.00 Mar/19
Germany 22683.00 Mar/19
India -15330.00 Apr/19
Indonesia -2501.90 Apr/19
Italy 4625.00 Mar/19
Japan 60.40 Apr/19
Mexico 1370.00 Apr/19
Netherlands 5330.00 Mar/19
Russia 15537.00 Mar/19
Saudi Arabia 180059.00 Dec/18
Singapore 2782.79 Apr/19
South Africa 5004.63 Mar/19
South Korea 4120.00 Apr/19
Spain -2352600.00 Mar/19
Switzerland 2494.00 Mar/19
Turkey -2136.73 Mar/19
United Kingdom -5408.00 Mar/19
United States -50000.00 Mar/19


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