China’s imports, exports surge as global economy reopens

BEIJING: China’s imports grew at their fastest pace this year in September, while exports extended strong gains as more trading partners lifted coronavirus restrictions in a further boost to the world’s second-biggest economy.

Exports in September rose 9.9% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, broadly in line with analysts’ expectations and up from a solid 9.5% increase in August.

The strong trade performance suggests Chinese exporters are making a brisk recovery from the coronavirus pandemic’s hit to overseas orders. As the global economy restarts, Chinese firms are rushing to grab market share as their rivals grapple with reduced manufacturing capacity.

“A jump in imports suggests that domestic investment spending remains strong,” Capital Economics Senior China Economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said. “Meanwhile, exports remained strong, most likely thanks to the recent strength of retail sales among China’s major trading partners.”

China’s factory activity has also picked up as international trading gradually resumes.

But some analysts warn exports could peak soon as demand for Chinese-made protective gear recedes and the base effect of this year’s massive declines wears off.

Imports surged 13.2%, returning to growth from a fall of 2.1% in August and much stronger than expectations for a 0.3% increase.