Chinese export growth slumps in August, imports decline | Health, Medicine and Fitness
By JOE McDONALD – AP Business Writer
BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade weakened in August as high energy prices, inflation and anti-virus measures weighed on demand from global and Chinese consumers, while imports of Russian oil and gas companies have surged.
Exports rose 7% from a year ago to $314.9 billion, decelerating from July’s 18% expansion, customs data showed on Wednesday. Imports contracted 0.2% to $235.5 billion, compared to the already weak growth of 2.3% the previous month.
Demand for Chinese exports has weakened as Western economies cool and the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia raise interest rates to contain soaring inflation. At home, the repeated closures of Chinese cities to fight virus epidemics have weighed on consumers’ willingness to spend.
“The slowdown in China’s export sector adds to the headwinds for the Chinese economy,” Rajiv Biswas of S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a report. The lack of import growth highlights “the continued weakness of Chinese domestic demand.”
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Growth in the world’s second-largest economy fell to 2.5% in the first half of 2022, less than half of the ruling Communist Party’s annual target of 5.5%, after the closure of Shanghai and other centers industries to fight virus outbreaks.
Factories have reopened, but restrictions more recently in areas such as Shenzhen’s southern business hub have weighed on activity. So did a dry summer that left reservoirs in the southwest unable to generate hydroelectricity and disrupted river navigation.
The International Monetary Fund and private sector forecasters have lowered their already weak growth forecasts.
China’s global trade surplus widened 36.1 percent from a year earlier to $79.4 billion.
Exports to the United States fell 3.8% from a year ago to $49.8 billion, while imports of American goods fell 7.3% to s set at $13 billion. The politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States that helped spark a tariff war narrowed 2.4% to $36.7 billion.
President Joe Biden has left in place tariff hikes imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in a fight against Beijing’s tech development tactics. Beijing retaliated by raising its own import duties and telling Chinese companies to stop buying US exports.
The emissaries of the two parties are talking by telephone but have not yet announced a date for resuming negotiations.
Imports from Russia, mostly oil and gas, jumped 59.3% to $11.2 billion as China appeared to take advantage of Kremlin rebates to attract buyers amid Western sanctions over its war against Ukraine.
China’s purchases of Russian energy irritate Washington and its allies but do not violate sanctions against Moscow. Last year, China bought 20% of Russian crude exports, according to the International Energy Agency.
Beijing said before the February invasion that it had a “boundless” friendship with Moscow. He criticizes the sanctions but has avoided helping President Vladimir Putin for fear of losing access to Western markets and the global banking system.
Exports to Russia increased by 26.5% to $8 billion.
Exports to the 27 countries of the European Union fell 18.4% to $51.3 billion, reflecting weak European demand.
Imports of European goods plunged 33.1% to $26 billion. China’s trade surplus with Europe widened 5.4% to $25.3 billion.
General Administration of Customs of China (in Chinese): www.customs.gov.cn
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