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China’s Trade Slump Narrows as Signs of Stabilization Emerge: A Positive Outlook for the Economy

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China’s Exports and Imports Decline in August

China’s Exports and Imports Decline in August


China’s exports and imports continued to decline in August due to weak overseas demand and consumer spending. However, the falls were slower than expected, indicating a possible stabilization in China’s economy.

Trade Numbers

  • Exports dropped 8.8% in August year-on-year, beating a forecast of 9.2%.
  • Imports contracted 7.3%, slower than an expected 9.0% decline.

Economic Challenges

China’s economy is at risk of missing its annual growth target of about 5% due to a property slump, weak consumer spending, and tumbling credit growth. Analysts have downgraded forecasts for the year.

Analyst Comments

“The trade data is marginally better, but I don’t think we should be reading too much into that: trade is still contracting,” said Frederic Neumann, chief Asia economist at HSBC. “There is a bit of a sign here of stabilization, but I think there’s still a long way to go,” he added.

Government Measures

Beijing has announced measures to shore up growth, including easing borrowing rules and financial regulations. However, analysts warn that these steps may have little impact due to a slowing labor market and uncertain household income expectations.

Global Concerns

Governments around the world are concerned about China’s economic slowdown, as many exporting nations rely heavily on the Chinese market for growth.

Trade with Other Countries

South Korean shipments to China dropped just a fifth last month, indicating stabilizing conditions. Declines in trade with the United States, Southeast Asia, and Australia also narrowed. However, trade with Japan dropped sharply.

Impact on Japan

Policymakers in Japan fear that China’s economic woes could affect Japan’s fragile recovery, especially if Beijing fails to stimulate demand effectively.

Commodity Imports

Crude oil shipments to China were higher in August compared to the same period last year, and soybean imports also jumped. This was encouraged by cheap prices in Brazil.

Investor Response

While some analysts saw signs of stabilization in the data, investors were not impressed. The yuan remained near a 10-month low, and the Australian dollar, seen as a proxy for Chinese growth, turned weaker after the data.

Trade Surplus

China posted a trade surplus of $68.36 billion in August, lower than the forecast and the previous month’s figure.


Although China’s trade numbers show some signs of stabilization, there are still challenges ahead. The government’s measures to boost growth may have limited impact, and global concerns about China’s economic slowdown persist.

Reporting by Joe Cash, Ellen Zhang, Liangping Gao and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Sam Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Joe Cash reports on China’s economic affairs, covering domestic fiscal and monetary policy, key economic indicators, trade relations, and China’s growing engagement with developing countries. Before joining Reuters, he worked on UK and EU trade policy across the Asia-Pacific region. Joe studied Chinese at the University of Oxford and is a Mandarin speaker.

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