China Economy

China says August exports beat expectations, jumping 9.5% from a year ago

Key Points
  • China's dollar-denominated exports rose 9.5% for the month of August while imports fell 2.1% in the same period, data from the country's General Administration of Customs showed on Monday.
  • Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to have climbed 7.1% in August from a year ago imports to rise 0.1% in the same period. 
  • China posted a trade surplus of $58.93 billion for the month of August.

China's dollar-denominated exports beat expectations to rise 9.5% for the month of August from a year ago, data from the country's General Administration of Customs showed on Monday.

Meanwhile, China's dollar-denominated imports in August fell 2.1% from a year ago.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to have climbed 7.1% in August from a year ago compared with a 7.2% rise in July, while imports were expected to climb 0.1% in August from a year ago, reversing a 1.4% decline in July.

China posted a trade surplus of $58.93 billion for the month of August, beating the $50.50 billion economists had expected. China's trade surplus was $62.33 billion in July.

The growth in exports was the fastest pace in one-and-a-half years, according to Reuters records.

VIDEO2:3002:30
Improvement in China's trade data, but there is turbulence ahead, says economist

Even though the overall picture for China's trade improved, the outlook is not without turbulence as imports data pointed to weak domestic consumption, said Gary Ng, Asia Pacific economist at Natixis.

The strong export numbers over three consecutive months would boost Chinese growth in the second half of the year, said Bo Zhuang, chief China economist at TS Lombard.

He added that even though import numbers for August were disappointing, demand for commodities was "very strong." However, imports of machinery were weak.

"Chinese (were) buying more of the raw materials but (were) still quite pessimistic on the investment outlook based on the import numbers," said Zhuang.

VIDEO2:2902:29
Strong growth in China's August exports would boost the country's growth: Economist

As export growth was driven by demand for personal protective equipment and work-from-home items like computers, the strong showing is likely to slow in the months ahead, said Zhuang.

"Once European or American households have bought one laptop or two game consoles, they are not going to continue to buy these type of goods for the foreseeable future," he said.

Headwinds for the Chinese economy also include the upcoming U.S. presidential election in November amid an already tense relationship between the world's two largest economies. The U.S.-China disputes include a range of issues from trade to technology.

China's trade surplus with the United States widened to $34.24 billion in August from $32.46 billion in July.