Shanghai, China, May 9 (EFE).- China’s export growth tumbled in April as global demand slumped due to soaring inflation and amid several Covid-19 outbreaks that prompted Beijing to roll out strict lockdowns in key economic hubs.
Official Chinese customs data published Monday reported that global trade slowed by 1.5% in April compared to March.
Yuan-denominated foreign exchanges in April reached 3.16 trillion yuan (about $535 billion).
Exports climbed by 1.9% over the previous year, reaching 1.74 trillion yuan, the report added.
Imports, however, suggested weak internal demand and contracted by 2%, falling to 1.42 trillion yuan.
China’s trade surplus closed in April at 325 billion yuan.
RUSSIA RAMPS UP CHINESE IMPORTS
So far in 2022, global Chinese trade has grown by 7.9%, with exports rising 10.3% and imports 5%.
The customs report broke down the geographical distribution of Chinese trade, which revealed a 23.4% increase in commerce between China and Russia in 2022.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union continued to be Beijing’s two main trading partners during the first quarter of the year.
Chinese trade with ASEAN rose by 7.2% in April, and by 6.8% with the EU.
Despite tariff hikes and a brewing trade war between the US and China, exports to the US rose by 8.7%. However, Chinese imports from the US dropped by 1.7% compared to the same period last year.
INFLATION PUSHES DEMAND DOWN
The General Administration of Customs also published trade data in dollars, which tends to differ slightly from yuan data due to fluctuations in exchange rates.
In US currency, exchanges increased by 2.1% year-on-year, with exports picking up 3.9% and imports remaining at a similar level as in April last year.
“Goods trade softened further last month,” Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics said in his analysis of the report. “Virus disruptions continued to take a toll but the main headwind to exports is weakening foreign demand.”
The economist added that China’s stiff covid restrictions should not be overestimated and that port traffic remained largely unchanged in April.
According to Evans-Pritchard, high inflation rates, especially in the EU and US, had resulted in a considerable reduction of imports due to the reduced purchasing power of households. EFE