Lending Association

China’s foreign trade surges in early 2024

China’s foreign trade witnessed a solid improvement in January and February, with both exports and imports showing stronger growth than anticipated compared to the same period in 2023.

Exports surged by 7.1% from the weak figures of the first two months of 2023, while imports rose by 3.5%, surpassing market forecasts.

However, it’s crucial to note that the weak performance in January and February 2023 was due to the country emerging from stringent lockdowns imposed in 2022.

According to the General Administration of Customs, the total value of imports and exports from January to February 2023 reached $895.72 billion, down 8.3% in US dollar terms from the same period in 2022. Exports stood at $506.3 billion, down 6.8% year-on-year, while imports fell 10.2% to $389.42 billion.

In contrast, exports for the first two months of 2024 reached $528 billion, with imports totaling just over $403 billion.

This improvement suggests that China’s global trade may be turning a corner after the prolonged weakness in manufacturing throughout 2023, which had dragged on growth and the wider economy.

The customs agency publishes combined January and February trade data to smooth out distortions caused by the shifting timing of the Lunar New Year. China posted a trade surplus of $125.16 billion in January-February, compared with the expected surplus of $103.7 billion.

According to Reuters, China ran a trade deficit of $10.8 billion with Australia and $19 billion with Taiwan, while it had surpluses of $47.3 billion with the US, $25.7 billion with the ASEAN group of countries, and more than $39 billion with Europe. Additionally, it had a deficit of $5.1 billion with South Korea and a small surplus of $1.7 billion with Japan.