Asia Economy
Chinese exports jump in September; "Sadness will return soon"
By Finfacts Team
Oct 13, 2014 - 8:25 AM

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A joint meeting of the Cabinets of Germany and China in Berlin, Oct 10, 2014, chaired by Angela Merkel, German chanceller, and Li Keqiang, Chinese premier.

Chinese exports grew at their fastest rate in 19 months in September, expanding 15.3% from a year ago, according to official customs data published on Monday - -  despite official optimism, an economist at a leading bank warned that "sadness will return soon."

Imports also rose, up 7% from the same month a year earlier after falling in August.

Part of the rise in exports results from a low base in September 2013 while US and developing country demand boosted trade.

Exports expanded by 15.3% from a year ago to US $213.7bn in September, customs data showed on Monday.

The September growth rate was the highest monthly export reading since March 2013.

Imports increased 7% year on year to $182.7bn in the month, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said.

September's growth rate in imports also marked the best monthly reading since December 2013, according to GAC.

The trade surplus in September more than doubled from last year to $31bn, compared with %49.8bn seen in August.

Zheng Yuesheng, GAC spokesman, said China's foreign trade was gaining traction quarter by quarter despite a complex world economy, according to Xinhua, the official news agency. The spokesman attributed September's strong growth to a string of government measures adopted in May to stabilise foreign trade, as well as rebounding global demand.

"We hope the strong momentum to continue in the fourth quarter," Zheng said, adding export pressure will lift in the fourth quarter.

The trade surplus in the first nine months expanded by 37.8% from previous year to $231.6bn.

The European Union remained China's biggest trading partner, with two-way trade totaling ¥2.81tn yuan (457bn) in the Jan-Sept period, up 10.2% from a year earlier.

China's trade with the United States, its second largest trade partner, rose 5.2% year on year to ¥2.48tn yuan from January to September, while China-ASEAN trade went up 6% to ¥2.13tn yuan.

In contrast to the official optimism, Lu Zhengwei, chief economist of Industrial Bank, was less upbeat while commenting on the trade outlook.

"The rejoice [over exports] will be short-lived and sadness will return soon," Lu warned, predicting a sharp slowdown in exports in the fourth quarter based on the past experience on trade fluctuations.

Last week the World Bank cut its forecast for Chinese growth to 7.4% in 2014 and 7.2% for 2015.

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