Exports surprise with 0.5% growth in November

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By journalsofus.com


  • China’s exports unexpectedly rose in November, while imports fell slightly from a year earlier, according to customs agency data released Thursday.
  • Exports in US dollar terms rose 0.5% from a year earlier, contrary to expectations of a 1.1% decline, according to analysts polled by Reuters.
  • Imports fell 0.6% in US dollar terms, missing Reuters forecast of 3.3% growth from a year earlier.

YANTAI, CHINA – DECEMBER 5, 2023 – A large number of Chinese-made cars are ready to be loaded for export at Yantai port in Yantai, Shandong province, China, December 5, 2023. (Photo credit should read CPhoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

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BEIJING – China’s exports unexpectedly rose in November, while imports fell slightly from a year earlier, according to customs agency data released Thursday.

Exports in U.S. dollar terms rose 0.5% from a year earlier, against expectations of a 1.1% decline, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

Imports fell 0.6% in US dollar terms, missing Reuters forecast of 3.3% growth from a year earlier.

The slight change in trade did not offset the overall decline of about 5% to 6% in China’s exports and imports for the first 11 months of 2023.

Bruce Pang, chief economist and head of research for Greater China at JLL, attributed the surge in exports to businesses’ strategy of cutting prices to boost volumes in recent months.

“External demand is still relatively weak, and holiday orders are lower than expected,” Pang said in Chinese, translated by CNBC.

“In general, the data shows that there are major challenges in both domestic and foreign demand, and policy support that focuses only on the supply side will not be able to achieve lasting results,” he said.

The value of China’s exports to the US rose 7% in November from a year earlier, according to CNBC calculations of official data.

By contrast, China’s exports to the EU fell 14.5% year-on-year in November and to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations by 7%, the analysis showed.

Overall, China’s exports of toys and electronics rose, while car exports maintained double-digit growth in November from a year earlier. Exports of clothing, footwear and furniture saw a decline compared to a year ago.

On imports, China bought less from the US and Southeast Asia in November than a year earlier, while purchases of goods from the EU increased slightly, the data showed.

Last month, China bought less crude and imports fell in both price and volume. However, China’s rare earth imports in November nearly doubled from a year earlier.

China’s imports in US dollar terms unexpectedly rose in October from a year earlier, according to customs data released last week. In contrast, exports declined by a larger-than-expected 6.4% during that period, the data showed.

Demand for Chinese goods has declined this year due to slowing global growth.

A monthly Caixin survey of manufacturers, known as the purchasing managers’ index, hit a three-month high of 50.7 in November.

However, Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group, said in a report that “overseas demand remains sluggish, with measures of new export orders in contraction for the fifth consecutive month.”

China’s National Bureau of Statistics said its manufacturing purchasing managers’ index unexpectedly fell to 49.4 in November from 49.5 in October.

— CNBC’s Clement Tan contributed to this report.

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