The ongoing strength of the renminbi has led to easing growth in China’s trade figures.
The latest data from the General Administration of Customs indicates that the gross value of Chinese imports and exports for the first eight months of the year was 17.83 trillion yuan, for a year-on-year increase of 17.1%.
Exports saw YoY growth of 13% to hit 9.85 trillion yuan, while imports rose by 22.5% to tap 7.98 trillion yuan.
In the month of August China’s total trade increased by 10.1%, while exports and imports rose by 6.9% and 14.4% respectively, maintaining the trend of slowing growth seen in the previous month.
Xu Hongcai, an economist with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said to The People’s Daily that easing year-on-year trade growth was primarily the result of two factors.
The first is the high baseline set in the second half of last year, when China’s foreign trade figures began to improve, while the second is appreciation of the renminbi, which has risen 6% against the US dollar since the start of the year, leading to shifts in import and export data.
According to Xu when these fluctuations are excluded from data China’s foreign trade is still seeing steady, rapid growth which is well ahead of the 6.9% GDP growth posted for the first half of 2017.
Xu believes that overall China’s trade revival is the result of both endogenous and exogenous factors, and that the significance of any provisional fluctuations should not be overstated.
In Xu’s opinion measures such as the expansion of free trade pilot zones will serve to increase the convenience of foreign trade and investment, and thus raise China’s international competitiveness.