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The Chinese trade surplus, at record highs due to exports

Shanghai (China), Dec 7 (EFECOM) .- China’s trade with the rest of the world increased 7.8% year-on-year in November thanks to a significant advance in exports which, added to the reduction in purchases abroad , led the Asian country to register a historical record of trade surplus. According to official data released today by the General Administration of Customs, exports denominated in yuan rose 14.9%, while imports contracted 0.8%. In the 11th month of 2020, China’s trade with other countries totaled 3.09 trillion yuan ($ 472.913 billion, € 390.17 billion). The expansion of exports, greater than expected by experts, brought the trade surplus to about 507.1 billion yuan (77.554 million dollars, 64.103 million euros), a figure 92.6% higher than that registered in the same month of the previous year. This surplus is the highest reached by China at least since 1981, when foreign trade began to be registered with the current model. So far this year, this figure has already reached 3.12 trillion yuan (477,159 million dollars, 394,472 million euros), 23.4% more than in the first eleven months of 2019. THE UNITED STATES GROWS IN THE TRADING PARTNERS TABLE In November, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) retained the top spot on China’s trading partners table, while the European Union (EU), which had been number two in that ranking for good For part of the year, it fell to third place in favor of the United States. Customs highlights that trade with the North American country, with whom China has been waging a trade war for almost three years, has increased by 6.9% since the beginning of the year, with a greater evolution of imports (7.2%) than of exports (6.9%), although purchases of US products only represent 22.6% of total exchanges. According to Erin Xin, an economist at HSBC, the seasonal component was also important in November in sales to the United States, since at Christmas “more people are willing to increase the proportion of their vacation budget in purchases of goods instead of services, such as traveling or dining out, due to the continuing spread of covid-19 “. Between January and November, the sale between the two powers has accumulated a total of 3.65 billion yuan (558,181 million dollars, 461,483 million euros). In this period, the Chinese trade surplus against the United States – one of the first reasons given by US President Donald Trump to start the tariff conflict – is 2 trillion yuan (306,172 million dollars, 252,898 million dollars). euros), 6.7% higher than that registered between January and November 2019. Despite the advance in Chinese purchases of US goods, this performance is still far from what is desired, according to the “first phase” agreement to end the trade war that both parties signed in January – yes, before the international spread of the covid-19 pandemic – which will probably be reviewed by the new US government, led by Joe Biden. Of the total Chinese foreign trade, exchanges with the US represent 14.4%, close to those made with the ASEAN countries (14.6%) and marking a certain distance with the EU bloc (13 , 9%). EXPORTS WILL REMAIN STRONG IN THE SHORT TERM In the accumulated of the first eleven months of the year, China’s foreign trade reached 29.04 trillion yuan (4.44 trillion dollars, 3.67 trillion euros), which represents an advance of 1.8% compared to the same period in 2019. Between January and November, exports increased by 3.5% year-on-year, while imports fell by 0.5%. Customs also released November trade data denominated in dollars today, which always show some variation from the yuan figures due to fluctuations in exchange rates. In the eleventh month of the year, trade rose by 13.6% to 460.72 billion dollars, with exports rising 21.1% – their highest advance since February 2018 – and imports, 4.5 %; In the accumulated since January, exchanges with the rest of the countries have increased by 0.6% to 4.17 trillion dollars. Among the main players in Chinese sales abroad are consumer electronics products, which this year has seen a great advance in sales due to lockdowns and teleworking, and also those related to the pandemic such as personal protective equipment (PPE) or masks. Some experts such as Michael Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University, warn that the strength of exports versus purchases abroad reflects that China’s economic recovery after the pandemic is being much more powerful on the supply side than that of demand, and that the increase in the Chinese trade surplus could cause “more global trade tensions.” However, looking ahead, Capital Economics analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard foresees that the positive inertia of sales to other countries will continue in the short term but “will not last forever”, due to consumption patterns in the The rest of the world “should gradually return to normal as vaccines are launched” against the coronavirus. Víctor Escribano (c) EFE Agency

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