China’s January-February export growth slows, Ukraine crisis poses risk

Workers are seen on a crane above containers at the Yangshan deep-water port in Shanghai, China January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

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  • Exports from January to February +16.3%, against +20.9% in December, +15% in a survey
  • Imports from January to February +15.5%, against +19.5% in December, +16.5% in a survey

BEIJING, March 7 (Reuters) – China’s export growth slowed in the January-February period due to the Lunar New Year holiday week and although data beat expectations, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has increased uncertainty about the outlook for world trade this year.

Outbound shipments rose 16.3% in the first two months of the year from the same period a year earlier, official data showed on Monday, beating analysts’ expectations for a 15.0 rise. %, but down from the 20.9% gain in December.

Imports rose 15.5%, after gaining 19.5% in December. This compared to a 16.5% increase predicted in a Reuters poll. Read more

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China posted a trade surplus of $115.95 billion over the same period, compared to a projected surplus of $99.50 billion in the survey. That compares to December’s $94.46 billion surplus.

The customs agency is releasing combined January and February trade data to smooth out distortions caused by the Lunar New Year, which can fall in either month.

Factory activity normally slows down considerably during long holidays when workers return to their hometowns. But for the third year in a row, many factory workers have not returned home due to concerns over COVID-19, which has kept factories operating.

China’s booming exports beat expectations for much of last year and boosted growth in the world’s second-largest economy, but analysts expect shipments to slow eventually as a increasing demand for goods overseas is falling and high costs are putting pressure on exporters.

Beijing has targeted slower economic growth of around 5.5% this year amid an uncertain global recovery and a slowdown in the country’s vast real estate sector. Read more

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine late last month and tougher international sanctions on Moscow have raised new risks for the global economy, adding to months of stress for Chinese factories over the global supply chain.

Chinese exporters exposed to Ukrainian markets have delayed shipments, while some factories with operations in Russia are awaiting payment from customers before arranging further shipments, factory officials and analysts told Reuters. Read more

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Reporting by Stella Qiu, Ellen Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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