China posts a $9.15 billion trade deficit in Feb 2017

China posts a $9.15 billion trade deficit in Feb 2017

Imports registered a whopping 38% year-on-year growth.

The Dollar Business Bureau

China has, in an unusual instance, reported a trade deficit of $9.15 billion in the month of February 2017. In US dollar terms, there was a 38.1% year-on-year rise in imports while exports took a 1.3% plunge. This has been the first trade deficit China has had since February 2014. In January, the performance was much more moderate with a 7.9% growth in exports and 16.7% rise in imports.

In terms of Chinese Yuan, there was a 44.7% surge in imports while exports rose by merely 4.2%.

Experts say that the numbers have been magnified due to the Chinese week-long new year holiday period, during which, ports and factories across the country are shut down. The shifting of this holiday from February in 2016 to January in 2017 has also skewed the base year figures, which are used to calculate growth. 

Volatility due to the lunar new year holiday aside, Chinese exports and imports seem to be picking up.

When the months of January and February 2017 are taken together, the exports as well as imports show significant improvement, suggesting a rebound in the global economic environment as well as a growing domestic demand. Surging exports and imports also indicate rising global commodity prices. 

China's trade surplus with USA dipped to $10.4 billion, the lowest in three years.

The country has been on the receiving end of sharp criticism from the Trump administration for its alleged unfair trade practices and currency manipulation. Wilbur Ross, the newly sworn in Commerce Secretary of US has resounded the Trump rhetoric on China, threatening countries that don't 'play by the rules' with 'severe punishment'. This doesn't augur well for the Asian manufacturing giant whose largest trade partner is USA, even as it expresses optimism for growing demand in 2017 which will revive exports. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - Mar 08, 2017 12:00 IST