Imports to China climbed 16.3 percent from a year earlier to USD 190.86 billion in December 2019, the most since October 2018 and way above market forecasts of a 9.6 percent jump, boosted in part by higher commodity prices. Unwrought copper imports rose 22.8 percent to their highest since March 2016 and iron ore purchases were 16.9 percent higher at 27-month high. Imports also advanced for refined products (9.9 percent), crude oil (3.9 percent), natural gas (3 percent), copper ores & concentrates (31.8 percent), soybeans (66.8 percent), edible vegetable oil (21.8 percent), and rubber (9.1 percent). In addition, purchases of pork rose almost four times from a year earlier ahead of Lunar New Year holidays. On the other hand, arrivals fell for both coal (-77.8 percent), and steel products (-85.3 percent). Considering the whole year, imports fell 2.8 percent on weak domestic demand, after rising 15.8 percent in 2018. Imports in China averaged 554.23 USD HML from 1981 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 1951.34 USD HML in September of 2018 and a record low of 13.88 USD HML in February of 1983. source: General Administration of Customs

Imports in China is expected to be 1600.00 USD HML by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Imports in China to stand at 1740.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the China Imports is projected to trend around 1800.00 USD HML in 2020, according to our econometric models.


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China Imports

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
1908.55 1834.11 1951.34 13.88 1981 - 2019 USD HML Monthly
Current Prices, NSA



Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2019-10-14 02:30 AM Sep -8.5% -5.6% -5.2%
2019-11-08 03:00 AM Oct -6.4% -8.5% -8.9% -7.4%
2019-12-08 03:00 AM Nov 0.3% -6.5% -1.8% -2.2%
2020-01-14 03:00 AM Dec 16.3% 0.5% 9.6% 8.5%


News Stream
2019-12-08
China Imports Rise for First Time in 7 Months
Imports to China surprisingly rose 0.3 percent year-on-year to USD 183.01 billion in November 2019, defying market consensus of a 1.8 percent fall and following a 6.2 percent decline in October. This marked the first year-on-year import growth since April, as unwrought copper purchases were the highest since September 2018 (5.9% to 483,000 tonnes). Imports also advanced for crude oil (6.7%), natural gas (3.3%), copper ores & concentrates (27.0%), coal (8.5%), iron ore (5.1%), soybeans (53.8%) and edible vegetable oil (70.3%). On the other hand, arrivals fell for refined products (-22.7%), fuel oil (-29.3%), steel products (-1.4%), rare earths (-42.8%), and rubber (-5.6%). Imports increased from the US (2.9%), the EU (2.7%), ASEAN (11.1%) and Taiwan (2.0%). On the other hand, purchases from Japan were unchanged, while those from Australia and South Korea dropped 9.3 percent and 7.1 percent respectively.

2019-11-08
China Imports Fall Less than Expected in October
Imports to China dropped 6.4 percent year-on-year to USD 170.12 billion in October 2019, compared to market consensus of an 8.9 percent fall and after an 8.5 percent drop in September. This was the sixth consecutive month of yearly drop in imports, as purchases fell for refined products (-13.1% to 2.22 million tonnes), natural gas (-10.6% to 6.52 million tonnes), and steel products (-9.9% to 1.03 million tonnes). Also, imports declined for soybeans (-10.7% to 6.18 million tonnes), and rubber (-8.6% to 500,000 tonnes). On the other hand, imports rose for crude oil (11.5% to a record high of 45.51 million tonnes), unwrought copper (1.9% to 431,000 tonnes), copper ores & concentrates (22% to 1,914,000 tonnes), coal (11.3% to 25.69 million tonnes), and iron ore (5.1% to 92.86 million tonnes). Purchases declined from the US (-14.3%), Japan (-7.3%), and Taiwan (-5.4%); but increased from the EU (16.6%), Australia (11.5%), and the ASEAN countries (2.3%).

2019-10-14
China Imports Fall More than Estimated
Imports to China slumped 8.5 percent from a year earlier to USD 178.47 billion in September 2019, compared to market consensus of a 5.2 percent fall and after a 5.6 percent drop in August. This was the fifth straight consecutive yearly decrease in imports, as purchases fell for unwrought copper (-14.6 percent), steel products (-7.6 percent), rare earth (-27.9 percent), rubber (-10 percent), and refined products (-26.5 percent). In contrast, purchases of iron ore imports jumped 93.47 percent to 99.36 million tonnes, its highest in 20 months, fuelled by firm demand at steel mills and stable shipments from big miners. Also, purchases increased for crude oil (10.8 percent), coal (20.5 percent), natural gas (7.3 percent) and soybeans (2.3 percent).

2019-09-08
China Imports Drop for 4th Month
Imports to China slumped 5.6 percent from a year earlier to USD 179.97 billion in August 2019, compared to market consensus of 6 percent fall and July's 5.3 percent drop. That was the fourth straight month of yearly decrease in imports, due to lower purchases of unwrought copper (-3.8 percent); steel products (-8.5 percent); rubber (-11.7 percent); refined products (-22.7 percent); and fuel oil (-28.3 percent). In contrast, imports rose for crude oil (9.9 percent); copper concentrate, or partially processed copper ore (9.2 percent); iron ore (6.1 percent); soybeans (3.6 percent); natural gas (7.3 percent); coal (14.9 percent); rare earths (0.9 percent); and edible vegetable oil (51.7 percent). Imports fell from the US (-22.4 percent), the EU (-5.2 percent), Japan (-8.8 percent), South Korea (-17.6 percent) and Taiwan (-1.4 percent). On the other hand, imports increased from ASEAN (7.6 percent) and Australia (32.2 percent).

2019-08-08
China Imports Fall Less than Expected
Imports to China declined 5.6 percent year-on-year to USD 176.5 billion in July, less than an expected 8.3 percent fall and easing from a 7.3 percent fall in June. That was the third consecutive month of decrease in imports, suggesting domestic demand remained sluggish and could lead Beijing to add more stimulus. Purchases of unwrought copper were down 7.1 percent, while imports of crude oil climbed 14 percent and those of iron ore increased 1.2 percent. In addition, soybeans imports rose 8 percent to the highest level in nearly a year. Imports of copper concentrate were up 12.4 percent to an all-time high and total natural gas imports were the highest since January. Imports dropped from the US (-19.1 percent), the EU (-3.3 percent), Japan (-13 percent), South Korea (-20.1 percent) and Taiwan (-6.8 percent), but were higher from Australia (18.7 percent) and ASEAN (0.4 percent).

2019-07-12
China Imports Tumble in June
Imports to China plunged 7.3 percent from a year earlier to USD 161.86 billion in June 2019, much worse than forecasts of a 4.5 percent drop, a further sign of weak domestic demand that could lead Beijing to add more stimulus. Purchases fell for: unwrought copper (-27.2 percent); iron ore (-9.7 percent); and soybeans (-25.1 percent) amid higher tariff on US cargoes and following outbreaks of African swine fever. By contrast, increases were seen in imports of crude oil (15.2 percent) and coal (6.4 percent). Among China's largest trade partners, imports fell from the US (-31.4 percent), South Korea (-21.9 percent), Taiwan (-7.4 percent) and Japan (-5 percent), but grew from the EU (8.6 percent), Australia (8.8 percent) and ASEAN (0.4 percent).


China Imports
China’s main imports are mechanical and electrical products and high tech goods. The country is also one of the biggest consumers of commodities in the world with crude oil, iron ore , copper and aluminum being the most important. China’s main import partners are: the European Union of Germany, ASEAN countries of which Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, United States and Australia.

China Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 467.92 379.26 612.86 -320.02 USD HML [+]
Current Account 491.89 461.67 1330.85 -341.00 USD HML [+]
Current Account to GDP 0.40 1.30 10.10 -3.70 percent [+]
Imports 1908.55 1834.11 1951.34 13.88 USD HML [+]
Exports 2376.47 2213.37 2376.47 12.50 USD HML [+]
External Debt 19652.14 17106.00 19652.14 158.28 USD HML [+]
Terms of Trade 104.88 103.45 118.33 81.75 points [+]
Capital Flows -97.60 213.65 725.40 -1305.58 USD HML [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 1367.10 1243.94 1367.10 18.32 USD HML [+]
Tourist Arrivals 3054.00 2917.00 3054.00 22.96 Tens of Thousands [+]
Gold Reserves 1948.31 1936.49 1948.31 395.01 Tonnes [+]
Crude Oil Production 3806.00 3811.00 4408.00 1012.00 BBL/D/1K [+]
Terrorism Index 4.47 5.11 6.29 1.47 [+]
Tourism Revenues 5.97 5.40 5.97 4.13 CNY Trillion [+]
Weapons Sales 1040.00 1227.00 2605.00 3.00 USD Million [+]

China Imports by Country Last Previous
European Union 24717800.00 25058898.00 USD THO Dec/19
Japan 16330900.00 15294766.00 USD THO Dec/19
Taiwan 15763800.00 16730662.00 USD THO Dec/19
South Korea 14889700.00 15233443.00 USD THO Dec/19
United States 11227600.00 10969941.00 USD THO Dec/19
Australia 10443100.00 8689902.00 USD THO Dec/19
Germany 9226000.00 9339984.00 USD THO Dec/19
Brazil 7108900.00 7290531.00 USD THO Dec/19
Malaysia 6937900.00 6131953.00 USD THO Dec/19
Vietnam 6594600.00 6857596.00 USD THO Dec/19
Russia 5539200.00 5528038.00 USD THO Dec/19
Saudi Arabia 4953825.00 4987807.00 USD THO Nov/19
Thailand 4222800.00 4011216.00 USD THO Dec/19
Singapore 3431900.00 3157527.00 USD THO Dec/19
France 3088300.00 3173917.00 USD THO Dec/19
Indonesia 2570200.00 3211015.00 USD THO Dec/19
Iraq 2563616.00 2149490.00 USD THO Nov/19
Chile 2411175.00 2098915.00 USD THO Nov/19
South Africa 2386100.00 1812100.00 USD THO Dec/19
Canada 2330400.00 1778932.00 USD THO Dec/19
China Imports by Category Last Previous
Mechanical & Electrical Products 83180500.00 84317702.00 USD THO Dec/19
High-&-new-tech Products 59072800.00 58945102.00 USD THO Dec/19
Fuels & Related Materials 30000978.00 28793123.00 USD THO Nov/19
Integrated Circuit 27511300.00 29375100.00 USD THO Dec/19
Crude Petroleum (value) 21929200.00 20895000.00 USD THO Dec/19
Agricultural Products 15043700.00 13644900.00 USD THO Dec/19
Iron Ore & Concentrates 8898200.00 8217822.00 USD THO Dec/19
Iron Ores & Concentrate 8898200.00 8217822.00 USD THO Dec/19
Motor Vehicles & Chassis 3939300.00 5819900.00 USD THO Dec/19
Soybean 3888900.00 3304009.00 USD THO Dec/19
Liquefied Petroleum Gas 3887700.00 2984891.00 USD THO Dec/19
Pharmaceuticals 3413300.00 3382500.00 USD THO Dec/19
Unwrought Copper & Copper Products 3336500.00 3047155.00 USD THO Dec/19
Measuring Instruments 3241133.00 3086986.00 USD THO Nov/19
Automatic Data Proc. Eq. & Components 3160000.00 2926405.00 USD THO Dec/19
Medicinal & Pharmaceutical Products 3122185.00 3014355.00 USD THO Nov/19
Parts of Motor Vehicles 2872700.00 2985174.00 USD THO Dec/19
Copper Ore & Concentrate 2858500.00 3217348.00 USD THO Dec/19
Copper Ores & Concentrate 2858500.00 3217348.00 USD THO Dec/19
Cars Incl. Spare Parts 2616730.00 757391.00 USD THO Nov/19

United Nations Comtrade Database
Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category