The Surge In Chinese Exports Has Some Worried That Over-Invoicing Has Made A Comeback

Chinese trade data beat expectations rising 10.6% on the year in January. Economists polled by Bloomberg were looking for a 0.1% rise.

Meanwhile, imports were up 10% beating expectations for a 4% rise.

The trade surplus widened to $US31.9 billion, more than expectations for $US23.45 billion.

“On the one hand, this should make markets more relaxed about both global demand and demand in China’s own economy,” Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group said in a note cited by Rachel Butt and Xin Zhou at Bloomberg.

“However, we are also left with a nagging feeling that perhaps issues such as over-invoicing have risen sharply in intensity early this year.”

We saw this in trade data last year too, when traders looking for a way to bring more money into the mainland were over-invoicing exports to places like Hong Kong to work around Beijing’s capital controls.

Ahead of the release economists had warned that weak external and domestic demand would weigh on trade data.

They also urged caution in interpreting the data because of the impact of the Lunar New Year holiday.

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