Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CHINA TOPS TRADE FORECASTS

From Hong Kong Standard--

China trade data top forecasts

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


 

China's December trade data beat expectations as demand from a stronger US economy helped offset weakness in Europe and Japan, while Chinese bargain- shopping in commodities markets put a floor under sliding imports.
But while exports grew faster and imports shrank less than forecast, trade officials warned of more headwinds to come in the first quarter if global demand remains uneven. Exports in December rose 9.7 percent from a year earlier in dollar-denominated terms, data from the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday. Imports dropped by only 2.4 percent, where analysts' consensus was for a far steeper decline of 7.4 percent. But officials were cautious when discussing how much positive momentum trade will deliver this year. "We think the negative factors that crimped trade performance in 2014 will be sustained for a period of time," said customs bureau spokesman Zheng Yuesheng, referring to a weak recovery in the world economy, falling foreign direct investment in Chinese manufacturing and rising domestic production costs. The smaller fall in imports than in November was largely due to a resurgence in commodity purchases, and sliding prices had reduced import costs. A trade surplus of US$49.6 billion (HK$386.9 billion) was posted for the month, smaller than November's record US$54.5 billion. China imported 30.37 million tonnes of crude oil in December, or 7.15 million barrels per day, topping the 7 million bpd mark for the first time, taking advantage of slumping prices to fill its reserves. During 2014, total trade value rose by 3.4 percent from a year earlier, short of its 7.5 percent target. "Although the global economy remains fragile, we nonetheless expect growth in many of China's key export markets, such as the US, to stage a slight recovery this year, which should provide support to Chinese exports," wrote Julian Evans-Pritchard, economist at Capital Economics, in a note. REUTERS