SAFE Releases China’s 2021 Q1 Balance of Payments Data

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The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has just released preliminary data for China’s balance of payments in the first quarter of 2021.

For the first quarter of 2021 China’s current account surplus was 487.1 billion yuan, including:

  • A goods trade surplus of 769.4 billion yuan.
  • A services trade deficit of 144.5 billion yuan.
  • A primary income deficit of 153 billion yuan.
  • A secondary income surplus of 15.2 billion yuan.

The capital and financial accounts deficit was 487.1 billion yuan, including a direct investment surplus of 457.3 billion yuan, and an increase in reserve assets of 226.9 billion yuan.

Calculated in US dollar terms China’s current account surplus was USD$75.1 billion for the first quarter of 2021, including:

  • A goods trade surplus of $118.7 billion.
  • A services trade deficit of $22.3 billion.
  • A primary income deficit of $23.6 billion.
  • A secondary income surplus of $2.3 billion.

The capital and financial account deficit was $75.1 billion, including a direct investment surplus of $70.5 billion and an increase in reserve assets of $35 billion.

SAFE data further points to exports of goods under the balance of payments of $694.1 billion since the start of 2021, for a YoY rise of 49%, and imports of $575.5 billion, for a YoY increase of 29%.

“China’s balance of payments was fundamentally balanced in the first quarter of 2021, and the current account surplus of $75.1 billion was equal to 2.0% of GDP for that period,” said a SAFE official via state-owned media.

“It continues to remain in a balanced, rational zone, and direct investment continues to maintain net inflows.”

“In the first quarter direct investment inflows were $70.5 billion, for a comparatively high level historically, embodying the confidence of foreign investors in China’s disease-prevention and control measures and the growth prospects of the economy.

“China made outbound direct investment net outflows of $22.6 billion, and the foreign direct investment of enterprises is balanced and orderly.

“[We] forecast that China’s 2021 full year current account will continue to maintain a surplus of rational scope.”

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