China’s politically sensitive trade surplus with the US last month soared to a record US$75.4 billion as exports surged 21.1 percent from a year earlier, propelled by US consumer demand.
Exports to the US rose 46 percent, despite lingering tariff hikes in a trade dispute with Washington, customs data showed yesterday.
Total exports rose to US$268 billion, accelerating from October’s 11.4 percent growth. Imports gained 5 percent to US$192.6 billion, up from the previous month’s 4.7 percent.
Chinese exporters have benefited from the economy’s relatively early reopening after the Chinese Communist Party in March declared the country’s COVID-19 outbreak under control, while foreign competitors still are hampered by anti-disease controls.
“Exports were much stronger than expected in November,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics Ltd said in a report.
Forecasters have said that the surge is unlikely to last into next year once COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out.
“We expect export performance to be less impressive,” Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics Ltd said in a report.
China’s global trade surplus for the first 11 months of this year reached US$460 billion, up 21.4 percent from a year earlier, already one of the highest ever recorded.
Exports to the US rose to US$51.9 billion, while imports of US goods gained 33 percent to US$14.6 billion.
The trade surplus with the US swelled 52 percent from a year earlier to US$37.3 billion.
Beijing promised to buy more US soybeans, natural gas and other exports as part of the “phase one” trade agreement signed in January and aimed at ending a costly tariff battle over Chinese technology ambitions.
China fell behind on meeting those commitments earlier in the year, but is catching up as demand rebounds.
The two governments agreed to postpone further planned tariff hikes on each other’s goods, but most penalties already imposed on billions of dollars of imports stayed in place.
Chinese imports are growing faster by volume than by value, because demand has been chilled by the shutdown of travel and industry, driving prices lower.
China’s exports to the 27-nation EU last month rose 8.6 percent from a year earlier to US$37.5 billion, while imports of European goods gained 4.5 percent to US$26.2 billion.
Its trade surplus with Europe widened by 20 percent to US$11.3 billion.
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