China’s Oct. exports surge, imports rise

Outbound shipments jump 11.4%

China’s exports grew at the fastest pace in 19 months in October, while imports also rose, official data showed on Saturday, as the world’s second-largest economy continued to recover after being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year.

Exports rose 11.4% from a year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations of a 9.3% increase and quickening from a solid 9.9% increase in September.

Surplus widens

The surge in exports pushed the trade surplus for October up to $58.44 billion, compared with the poll’s forecast for a $46 billion surplus and a $37 billion surplus in September.

China’s trade surplus with the United States widened to $31.37 billion in October, from $30.75 billion in September.

China’s exports have stayed largely resilient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as strong demand for medical supplies and reduced manufacturing capacity elsewhere worked in China’s favour.

“Exports growth quickened further and significantly exceeded expectations, indicating a relatively strong momentum,” said Liu Xuezhi, an anlyst at Bank of Communications in Shanghai.

China’s exports could stay strong in the rest of 2020 as domestic firms resume production faster than global rivals and sell more COVID-19 related goods such as face masks, Mr. Liu said.

Europe’s second wave

However, some analysts said exports could come under pressure in the coming months, as major European economies, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, went back into lockdown as a second wave of coronavirus cases gathered strength.

Imports rose 4.7% year-on-year in October, slower than September’s 13.2% growth, but still marking a second straight month of growth.

“China has a better recovery from the pandemic and has a comparative advantage, so it has gained a larger market,” said Zhou Hao, an economist at Commerzbank in Singapore.

“Of course, this advantage is also temporary and may last until the end of the year,” the economist added.

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