Chinese exports grow more than expected in December, imports quicken

China December exports rise 18.1% year-on-year imports up 6.5% top forecasts

China posted a trade surplus of $78.17 billion in December - the highest reading on Refinitiv records going back to 2007.

Coal arrivals were 39.08 million tonnes last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday, up 232.3% from 11.76 million tonnes in November and surging from only 2.77 million tonnes in December a year ago.

"China's exports grew in 2020, taking market share from other export-oriented economies".

Exports rose 18.1 per cent in December from a year earlier. Imports rose 6.5 percent to $203.7 billion, reflecting a rebound in Chinese consumer demand after the ruling Communist Party reopened factories, shopping malls, offices and auto dealerships.

"COVID-19 also transferred some overseas orders of home appliances and medical products to China, which pushed up the China imports". Economists and political analysts expect few changes due to widespread frustration in Washington with China's record on trade and human rights and complaints about technology theft and spying.

Chinese firms also exported nearly 100 billion-yuan worth of other personal protective equipment, Li said.

Iris Pang, ING chief economist for Greater China, told AFP that China's exports likely did well as "other exporters for most of the year had been in hard positions because of Covid-19", shifting more orders to China.

The figure is a 14.9 percent jump from 2017's surplus of $275.8 billion - which was already a sensitive political issue due to Trump's claims that China held unfair practices and killed United States jobs. China is expected to be the only major economy to see positive growth in 2020. The onshore yuan strengthened 6.7 percent in 2020 - its first annual rise in three years.

Beijing promised to buy more American exports in the "Phase 1" agreement last January aimed at ending the tariff war.

On the US-China surplus, she said coronavirus restrictions in the US would also have hit export capacity. Imports of European goods rose 2.3 percent, giving China a surplus of $13.3 billion.

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