China Trade Continues to Improve

China’s foreign trade maintained its upward momentum in the first five months of the year amid steady economic operation and external demand.

The country’s total imports and exports expanded by 28.2 percent year on year to reach 14.76 trillion yuan (about 2.31 trillion U.S. dollars) during the period, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Monday.

It marks an increase of 21.6 percent from the same period in 2019, data from the GAC said.

Exports jumped by 30.1 percent from a year earlier, while imports climbed by 25.9 percent in yuan terms.

Exports and imports increased by 23.6 percent and 19.2 percent, respectively, compared with the data registered in the first five months of 2019.

From Jan.-May, the trade surplus increased by 56.2 percent year on year to reach 1.32 trillion yuan.

Foreign trade of private enterprises expanded by 38.1 percent to 7.02 trillion yuan in the January-May period, accounting for 47.6 percent of China’s total imports and exports.

Imports of major commodities, including iron ore, crude oil, and soybean, increased during the same period.

In the first five months, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations remained China’s largest trading partner, followed by the European Union and the United States, the GAC data showed.

During the period, the growth rates of China’s trade value with the three trading partners stood at 29.2 percent, 28.7 percent, and 41.3 percent, respectively.

China’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose by 27.4 percent, year on year, to reach 4.36 trillion yuan.

In May alone, exports rose by 18.1 percent from a year earlier to 1.72 trillion yuan, the GAC data said.

China continued to see robust external demand in May, said Sun Binbin, an analyst with TF Securities.

Xie Yaxuan, an analyst with China Merchants Securities, said exports of toys, textiles, and garments, which were slow to recover earlier, will speed up.

Last month, the country’s imports surged by 39.5 percent to reach 1.42 trillion yuan. It represented a 22.3-percent increase compared with the same period in 2019.

Imports will maintain a high growth rate as China’s economy sustains steady operations while major economies globally will see production recovery, said Xie.

The trade surplus last month narrowed by 32.1 percent from a year earlier to 296 billion yuan.

China’s economy improved and businesses gradually got back to normal in 2020 despite COVID-19 hits, Hou Kai, auditor general of the National Audit Office, said on Monday.

Entrusted by the State Council, Hou delivered an audit report on the enforcement of the central government’s 2020 budget and other fiscal revenue and expenditure at the ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

China reduced the burden on market entities by over 2.6 trillion yuan (about 406.48 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020, Hou said, adding that 11.86 million new urban jobs were created and more than 9.6 million people were relocated from inhospitable areas.

According to a random inspection of the over 231.43 billion yuan of fiscal funds of 43 central departments and their 439 subordinate units, the enforcement of the central government’s 2020 budget and investment plans was good overall, said Hou.

In recent years, China has intensified its efforts to rectify problems pointed out by the audit, and this has produced notable results, Hou noted.