Chinese trade data produced a rare miss in July with annual growth in exports and imports both undershooting expectations.
According to China’s General Administration of Customs, exports grew by 7.2% year-on-year in US dollar denominated terms, missing forecasts for an increase of 10.9%.
That was also below the 11.3% increase previously reported in June.
On the other side of the ledger, imports rose by 11% from a year earlier in USD-terms, again undershooting forecasts for growth of 16.6%.
They previously grew by 17.2% year-on-year in June.
In volume terms, imports of crude oil, iron ore and coal all fell from the levels reported in June.
Crude oil imports stood at 34.66 million tonnes, down from 36.11 million tonnes a month earlier, while imports of iron ore slipped to 85.74 million tonnes from 94.7 million tonnes in June.
Coal imports also dipped to 19.46 million tonnes, a four-month low.
In the first seven months of the year, imports of crude, iron ore and coal grew by 13.6%, 7.5% and 18.2% respectively from the same period a year earlier.
In the 12 months to July this year, the Chinese yuan weakened by 1.4% against the US dollar, suggesting that the growth in exports and imports was largely driven by strengthening demand both from within China and abroad, rather than movements in currency markets.
In yuan-denominated terms, Customs said exports grew by 11.2% year-on-year. Import growth was even stronger, lifting 14.7% over the same period.
The wash-up from the movements in exports and imports was that the national trade surplus swelled to $46.74 billion, above the $42.77 billion level of June and forecasts for a smaller increase to $46.08 billion.
China’s trade surplus with the United States stood at $25.2 billion, down marginally on the $25.4 billion level of June.
There has been no significant reaction in stocks, commodity futures, bonds or currencies in Asia to the release of the trade report.
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