China trade surplus up at $45.41 bn

08 Nov 2014


China's trade surplus for October came in  better-than-expected at $45.41 billion in October, the Chinese customs authority said today, though  commentators said weaker export and import growth could be a worrisome sign for the world's second-largest economy, AFP reported.

The trade surplus for the month expanded 46.3 per cent from the same month last year, exceeding market expectations. The surplus also increased from the $31.0 billion recorded in September.

Exports were up 11.6 per cent year-on-year to $206.87 billion in October, even as imports increased 4.6 per cent to $161.46 billion, customs said.

AFP quoted Liu Xuezhi, a Shanghai-based analyst at Bank of Communications, as saying the trade surplus was driven by the contraction in growth of imports... and export growth was not very strong.

He added, to the quality of the surplus was not very high.

Exports growth, a driver of China's economy slowed in October from a 15.3 per cent year-on-year rise in September. Import growth continued to be weak in October, slowing from a 7.0 gain in September.

Domestic demand was weak Liu added. De-stocking this year had led to consumption of cement, coal, iron ore and other raw materials to decline, making demand for imports weak, he added.

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai as saying, the economy still faced relatively big downward pressure as exports faced uncertainties while weak imports indicated sluggish domestic demand.

He added, the central bank might continue to ease policy in a targeted way.

Imports increased at an annual 4.6 per cent in October, slowing from a 7-per cent rise in September, and continued to be weaker than expected, leaving the country with a trade surplus of $45.4 billion for the month, which was near record highs.

Annual growth was down to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter - the weakest since the height of the global financial crisis – with a cooling property sector burdening domestic demand.

According to recent purchase managers' surveys on factory and services, the Chinese economy lost further momentum heading into the fourth quarter as the property market weighed amid softening of export demand, putting Beijing's official growth target for the year at even greater risk.

September's surprisingly strong export growth had been questioned by some analysts with signs emerging of hot money inflows as firms tried to evade capital controls by over-invoicing precious metal sales.

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