China's exports top forecasts, imports growth best in 10 years
published : 7 May 2021 at 11:45
BEIJING: Chinese exports grew at a forecast-busting rate last month, data showed Friday, while imports surged at their strongest rate in a decade as the global economy bounced back from the pandemic crisis and domestic consumption continued to recover at a healthy pace.
With vaccines being rolled out around the world -- particularly in the key US market -- and economically painful lockdowns being eased, demand for China's goods has picked up this year, having fallen off a cliff in 2020.
Shipments abroad soared 32.3% on-year in April -- smashing the 24.1% expected in a Bloomberg survey -- thanks to a sharp rise in demand for electronics and medical masks.
The impressive figures are attributable to last year's very low base of comparison owing to the pandemic but still show that the global recovery is underway, led by the United States where the economy is scorching along on the back of vast government spending and central bank largesse.
At home, with the coronavirus largely brought under control, China's vast army of consumers are getting back to their daily lives after last year's travails, sending imports up 43.1%, slightly below forecast but the best rise since early 2011.
The jump was also fired by a surge in commodity prices -- iron ore is at a record and copper close to one -- electronics and integrated circuits, which are then mostly turned around before being shipped abroad.
The strong figures will provide cheer to China's leaders who are looking to recalibrate the economy from state investment and exports-led growth to one more reliant on domestic consumer demand.
"Looking beyond the pandemic, we think China will continue to rebalance in order to rely more on domestic demand in the longer term and while gradually upgrading itself in the global supply chain," Liu Peiqian, at Natwest Group, said in a note before the data was released.