Exports surprised with a growth of 0.5% in November

  • China’s exports rose unexpectedly in November, while imports fell slightly from a year ago, according to customs agency data released Thursday.
  • Exports in US dollars rose by 0.5% compared to last year, contrary to expectations for a 1.1% decline, according to analysts polled by Reuters.
  • Imports in US dollars fell by 0.6%, below Reuters’ expectations for a 3.3% increase from last year.

YANTAI, CHINA – DECEMBER 5, 2023 – A large number of Chinese-made cars are ready to be loaded for export at Yantai Port in Yantai, Shandong Province, China, December 5, 2023. (Image source should read CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

BEIJING – China’s exports rose unexpectedly in November, while imports fell slightly from a year ago, according to customs agency data released Thursday.

Exports in US dollars rose by 0.5% compared to last year, contrary to expectations for a 1.1% decline, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

Imports in US dollars fell by 0.6%, below Reuters’ expectations for a 3.3% increase from last year.

The muted change in trade did little to offset the overall decline of about 5% to 6% in China’s exports and imports during the first 11 months of 2023.

Bruce Pang, chief economist and head of research for Greater China at JLL, attributed the rise in exports to companies’ strategy of cutting prices to increase volume in recent months.

“Overseas demand is still relatively weak, and holiday orders are lower than expected,” Pang said in Chinese, translated by CNBC.

“In general, the data shows that there are significant challenges in both domestic and external demand, and supporting policies that focus only on the supply side will not be able to achieve lasting results,” he said.

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The value of China’s exports to the United States rose 7% in November from a year ago, according to CNBC’s calculations of official data.

In contrast, China’s exports to the European Union fell by 14.5% year-on-year in November, and its exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations fell by 7%, the analysis showed.

Overall, China’s exports of toys and electronics rose, while automobile exports maintained their recent double-digit increases in November compared to last year. Clothes, shoes and furniture witnessed a decline in exports compared to last year.

Regarding imports, the data showed that China’s purchases from the United States and Southeast Asia were lower in November compared to last year, while purchases of goods from the European Union rose slightly.

Last month, China bought less crude oil, and imports fell in both price and volume. However, China’s imports of rare earth elements nearly doubled in November from a year ago.

In October, China’s imports rose unexpectedly compared to last year in US dollars, according to customs data released last week. In contrast, exports fell by a larger-than-expected 6.4% during that period, the data showed.

Demand for Chinese goods has declined this year as global growth slows.

The monthly Caixin survey of manufacturers, known as the PMI, rose to a three-month high in November at 50.7.

However, Wang Zhi, chief economist at Caixin Insight Group, said in a report that “external demand remained sluggish, with the measure of new export orders remaining in contraction for the fifth straight month.”

China National Bureau of Statistics It said the manufacturing PMI unexpectedly fell to 49.4 in November from 49.5 in October.

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— CNBC’s Clement Tan contributed to this report.

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