China trade surplus surges 48% to $231bn



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Friday 11 January 2013

Last update 11 January 2013 1:55 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BEIJING: China's trade surplus surged in 2012, but total imports and exports grew slowly owing to weakness at home and abroad, official data showed yesterday, while analysts warned of another tough year ahead.
The trade surplus in the world's second-largest economy jumped 48.1 percent from the year before to a four-year high of $231.1 billion, the national customs bureau announced.
The increase was largely due to low growth in imports as a result of commodity prices declining last year. Total imports increased just 4.3 percent to $1.82 trillion, while exports rose 7.9 percent to $2.05 trillion.
And China's total trade grew just 6.2 percent last year, well below the government target of about 10 percent.
Customs spokesman Zheng Yuesheng told reporters that "a sharply slowing world economic recovery, weak international market demand and rather big downside pressure on the domestic economy" weighed on the results.
China's economic growth slowed for seven straight quarters to the end of September, while the broader global economy also faced weakness in 2012.
Data for the three months to the end of December are due at the weekend, while inflation figures will be released today.
The European Union — China's biggest trade partner — continued to suffer a prolonged debt crisis, and economic recovery in the United States, Beijing's number two commercial counterpart, remained subdued.
Zheng added the negative factors hurting trade last year remain in place in 2013, though he still saw some reason for optimism, citing efforts to boost growth by China and other major economies.
"We expect trade growth in 2013 to be slightly better than 2012."
The jump in the trade surplus — which in the past has been a source of friction with China's commerce partners — was mostly a result of better terms of trade "due to lower commodity prices", RBS economist Louis Kuijs said in a research note.
One bright spot was that exports and imports hit new single-month highs in December, rising 14.1 percent to $199.2 billion and six percent to $167.6 billion respectively, the figures showed.
Analysts, however, attributed the strong performance largely to one-off factors including better US data in the fourth quarter and rushed shipments by Chinese exporters at the year-end.
"Economic growth in developed economies may remain slow, so we think the challenges to China's exports remain," Sun Junwei, a Beijing-based economist with HSBC, told AFP.
"China's economic recovery will depend on whether domestic demand will turn for the better."
Analysts have expressed growing optimism that China's economic growth accelerated in the final three months of last year, citing stronger recent data including retail sales, while manufacturing activity has also picked up.
Chinese authorities have said they are committed to rebalancing their economy more toward domestic demand factors such as consumer spending and away from exports.
Ren Xianfang and Alistair Thornton, economists with IHS Global Insight, said Chinese exporters could have another difficult year due to extended weakness abroad.
"With our projection for continued contraction in the euro zone and continued slowdown in the US economy, we believe China's export sector will face another uphill battle this year — an even tougher one than 2012," they said in a research note.
Total trade with Japan, the world's third-largest economy, fell 3.9 percent to $329.45 billion in 2012, Zheng said, blaming most of the decrease on a weak Japanese economy.
But he added that a dispute between Beijing and Tokyo over small islands in the East China Sea that both claim but Japan controls "to some extent also had negative impact on the healthy development of China-Japan bilateral trade".

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Kingdom and New Zealand have signed an air services agreement to set a comprehensive regulatory framework for air transport, operating on a safe and organized basis.The deal was signed at the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) he...
RIYADH: Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa has called on teachers, educators and other officials of his ministry to work hard for the common goal of producing quality graduates. “I urge you to do your level best in transmitting knowledge to the student...
AL-AHSA: Uncoordinated production resources, lack of risk planning, evaluation, non-study of similar projects and poor planning are among the reasons for failure of projects, an expert has said.“Total quality management (TQM) is an integrated scienti...
JEDDAH: The Specialized Criminal Court has issued its verdict against two Saudis for terrorism-related offenses and for supporting extremist groups, a local daily has reported.The court issued a prison sentence of ten and a half years to the first de...
RIYADH: The second phase of the operation on a Polish child for a genetic heart disease was successfully performed at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) of the National Guard Health Affairs on Wednesday. On a directive from Custodian of the Two H...
JEDDAH: A new breast cancer treatment improves survival rates by an average 20 percent, with life expectancy lengthened by 29.9 months.This is according to Ahmed Al-Wabari, breast oncology consultant at King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Dammam, who ou...
RIYADH: The projects of Saudi students at the Technical Trainers College (TTC) is being showcased at the German pavilion in the 30th Janadriyah Festival. With the slogan “Welcome to Your Future”, the TTC is participating in the festival with Germany...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor has urged firms to immediately start implementing the 10th phase of the Wage Protection System before it becomes mandatory on March 31.Mohammed Al-Faleh, assistant undersecretary for inspection and development of the wor...
RIYADH: As many as 104 antique items that have come from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany, have gone on display at the National Museum here. The exhibition coincides the Janadriyah festival for heritage and culture.According to local media, the...
RIYADH: A visiting Kuwaiti delegation has praised Saudi Arabia for collecting and preserving various heritage items at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh.The delegation, led by Kuwait’s Education Minister Bader Al-Essa, was given a tour...
RIYADH: Road security forces in Madinah apprehended two Asian expats who were caught in possession of a huge amount of money totaling SR1.6 million and talismans.“The two Asians were riding in a Japanese-made car when they were stopped at the Yanbu-...
RIYADH: Good news for the 25,000 British expatriates in the Kingdom, who will get their franchise to participate in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.In an announcement on Thursday, the British Embassy here said that the Uni...
JEDDAH: Jeddah Municipality, with cooperation of the Check Safety First British company, launched an award of excellence for services in restaurants under the name E-Cristal to support the establishment of best services in restaurants and eatery shop...
JEDDAH: Well-known Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan married Safa Baig, an Indian woman, who was born in Jeddah and raised here by her Hyderabadi parents.The marriage was solemnized at a simple ceremony at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Wednesday. Only a...
RIYADH: The Ministries of Interior and Islamic Affairs are considering appointing security guards at all the mosques in the Kingdom where Friday prayers are held.The move comes as a precautionary and regulatory measure to protect the mosques from at...

Stay Connected

Facebook