Jun 08, 2018 (China Knowledge) - China maintained its solid export growth with a 12.6% increase in May, slightly lower than 12.7% growth in April, the Customs Administration said today. Exports to all major markets remain strong. China’s shipments to the United States rose 11.6% from a year earlier, compared with 9.7% rise in April. Exports to the EU and Japan climbed 8.5% and 10.2% respectively. Export figures to ASEAN was the highest among the pack, with Chinese shipments to those countries rising 17.6%
Imports grew 26% in May, up from 21.5% in April and higher than the forecasted figure of 18.8%. Strong growth in imports were party attributed to greater purchases of commodities. China's soybean imports soared by 40.6% month-on-month in May to the highest in nearly a year. China imported 9.7 million tons of soybeans in May, the highest level since July 2017, although it was a slight increase of 1.15% year-on-year. From January to May, soybean imports fell 2.6% year-on-year to 36.17 million tons. As for imports of other major commodities, imports of corn and other agricultural products continued to grow at a high rate, while imports of crude oil and other energy products slowed down as a whole.
From January to May, crude oil imports reached 190 million tons, an increase of 8% year-on-year. In May, crude oil imports reached 38.57 million tons. Last year China surpassed the United States, the former largest crude importer, in annual gross crude oil imports, importing 8.4 million barrels per day (b/d), compared with 7.9 million b/d for the United States. From January to May, the import of refined oil was 14.27 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 12.4%.
The world’s second largest economy total trade surplus with the world shrank to USD 24.92 billion last month. The total trade surplus was forecasted to increase to USD 33.8 billion from USD 28.38 billion in April. The continued growth in imports outpacing exports, if sustained, will lead to a further narrowing in the trade surplus. China’s ongoing trade negotiations with the United States to reduce its USD375 billion trade surplus last year will potentially narrow the trade gap further if China agrees to purchase more oil and agriculture products like US soybean.
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