China Economy

China says its dollar-denominated exports, imports jumped in June, beating expectations of a decline

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Key Points
  • China's dollar-denominated exports and imports rose in June, as restrictions eased and countries started to reopen their economies.
  • The June customs data beat expectations of a decline, with exports posting a rise of 0.5% as compared with a year ago, and imports jumping 2.7% in the same period.
  • A Reuters poll estimated that June exports contracted 1.5% from a year earlier, bouncing from a 3.3% decline in May. Imports were expected to fall 10.0% from last year, as compared with a drop of 16.7% in May.
Aerial view of shipping containers sitting stacked at Lianyungang Port on June 3, 2019 in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province of China.
Wang Jianmin | Visual China Group | Getty Images

China's dollar-denominated exports and imports rose in June, as restrictions eased and countries started to reopen their economies.

The June customs data beat expectations of a decline, with exports posting a rise of 0.5% as compared with a year ago, and imports jumping 2.7% in the same period.

A Reuters poll had estimated that June exports contracted 1.5% from a year earlier, bouncing from a 3.3% decline in May. Imports were expected to fall 10.0% from last year, as compared with a drop of 16.7% in May, according to the poll. That could be attributed to higher purchases of crude oil and commodities.

Earlier, China published customs data that showed yuan-denominated exports in June rose 4.3% from a year ago, while imports jumped 6.2% in the same period.

The jump in imports showed that China's domestic demand remained strong, analysts said.

It suggested that "domestic demand is holding up very well, and indeed accelerating," Gary Dugan, CEO at investment firm The Global CIO Office, told CNBC's "Street Signs."

"It's good news to commodities markets and good news to global growth," he said.

"In seasonally-adjusted (month on month) terms, imports rose 14.1%, the sharpest single-month increase since 2012. Admittedly, this partly reflects the recent rebound in global commodity prices but it seems likely that import volumes also picked up," research firm Capital Economics wrote in a note.

The June data also showed that China's trade surplus with the U.S. widened to $29.41 billion, versus $27.89 billion in May, according to Reuters. Tensions between both countries have worsened this year, with U.S. President Donald Trump blaming China for the pandemic, and saying last week that he wasn't even thinking about phase two of the trade deal.

Economies in Asia and the rest of the world have gradually started to reopen. Since mid-May, European countries and the U.S. have eased lockdowns, and that has led to increased shipments of some cargo backlogs previously stuck at Chinese ports, Reuters reported, citing the China Ports & Harbours Association.

However, the recovery is threatened by a resurgence of coronavirus, with cases climbing again in countries such as the U.S., Australia and South Korea. That has led to some restrictions being reinstated.

As the pandemic gripped the world, China's exports in medical supplies jumped in the first half of the year

  • Exports of personal protective equipment jumped 32.4%
  • Exports of drugs were up 23.6%
  • Exports of medical equipment increased 46.4%

— CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.