Beijing - China’s exports increased more than estimated last month, adding to evidence that the second-largest economy is rebounding after a two-quarter slowdown.
Overseas shipments rose 7.2 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said yesterday. That compares with the 5.5 percent median estimate of 46 economists and July’s 5.1 percent gain. Imports rose a less-than-estimated 7 percent year on year, leaving a trade surplus of more than $28 billion (R280bn).
China’s economy is showing signs of picking up after the government announced support measures such as tax cuts for small businesses and extra spending on railways, and as confidence returns after the interbank cash squeeze in June.
Improvements in developed nations may support exports in coming months, with the euro zone returning to growth in the second quarter after a record-long recession.
“We’re clearly seeing stronger external demand momentum as manufacturing in the US and EU recover and that’s going to become a stronger driver of China’s growth,” said Xu Gao, the chief economist with Everbright Securities in Beijing.
“But if policymakers in China see this recovery as meaning they don’t need to add stimulus domestically or even withdraw stimulus, that could be bad news.”
Xu, who raised his 2013 full-year economic growth estimate for China to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent last week, said the moderation in momentum suggested in the August import numbers might temper optimism about the strength of domestic demand.
August data for consumer and producer prices will be released today, followed by industrial output, retail sales and year-to-date fixed-asset investment tomorrow that will give a clearer picture of the extent of the economic rebound that started in July.
The People’s Bank of China will also give August lending, money supply and aggregate financing numbers this week.
The increase in August inbound shipments trailed the 11.3 percent median projection of 45 analysts and was lower than July’s 10.9 percent jump. Estimates ranged from gains of 5 percent to 15 percent.
The slowdown “reflects the weak economic recovery domestically”, said Hu Yifan, the chief economist at Haitong International Securities Group in Hong Kong. “But we expect the trend to reverse in coming months, along with rising demand, on a series of supportive policies” by the government.
Exports to the US, China’s biggest market, and the EU, its second largest, rose for a second month in August after a four-month drop. Sales to the US increased 6.1 percent from a year earlier, while those to the EU gained 2.5 percent. Exports to Japan declined for a seventh month, falling 2.2 percent. - Bloomberg