China's trade data impressed in September

Photo: iStock

Chinese trade data impressed in September with imports and exports both growing at a faster pace than August.

Yes, China’s economy continues to deliver the goods ahead of the country’s Communist Party Congress next week.

Talk about the lucky country.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs, imports grew by 18.7% in the year to September in US dollar terms, accelerating upon the 13.3% level of August.

It easily surpassed market expectations for an increase of 13.5%.

On the other side of the ledger, exports also grew at a faster pace, lifting 8.1% over the year, following a 5.5% increase in the year to August.

Despite the acceleration, the figure was marginally below the 8.8% level expected.

With the Chinese yuan almost unchanged from a year earlier, that suggests the growth in both imports and exports was driven by stronger demand and higher prices.

In Chinese yuan-denominated terms, the customs bureau said that exports and imports grew by 9% and 19.5% respectively.

With imports growing at a faster pace than exports, the trade surplus narrowed to $28.47 billion from $41.99 billion in August.

That was well below the $39.5 billion level expected, and the smallest surplus since March.

The strong trade report follows an equally impressive reading on manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity levels in September, adding to suspicions that recent data may have been “juiced up” ahead of China’s twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress that is expected to begin next week.

While that may have taken place to showcase the apparent strength of the Chinese economy, few will disagree that the global economy has improved in 2017, assisting the recovery in China’s trade-exposed sectors.

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