China exports rebound as COVID-19 controls ease - Taipei Times

2022-06-15 12:59:06 By : Ms. Michelle Zou

China’s exports rebounded strongly last month, Chinese General Administration of Customs data released yesterday showed, with factories restarting and supply chains untangling as Shanghai slowly emerged from a grueling COVID-19 lockdown.

As curbs began to ease, overseas shipments from the world’s second-biggest economy bounced back 16.9 percent year-on-year, up from 3.9 percent in April, the data showed.

“The export rebound is actually quite surprising... I believe that’s mainly because of the Shanghai port,” ING chief economist for Greater China Iris Pang (彭藹嬈) said.

The world’s busiest container port was running at about 90 percent capacity late last month, boosting shipments, she added.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected a spike of about 8 percent in exports.

“If [US] tariffs are lifted ... there will be even stronger growth,” Pang said, referring to remarks by US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen that the US is considering lifting some tariffs imposed during former US president Donald Trump’s administration.

Yellen told lawmakers on Wednesday that US President Joe Biden’s administration would provide more information “in coming weeks” on the tariff plans.

US tariffs on hundreds of billions of US dollars of Chinese imports would begin to expire next month, unless renewed, and Biden has faced growing calls to get rid of the so-called “Section 301” duties to help combat the highest inflation in more than four decades.

Yellen said that while Beijing was “guilty of unfair trade practices,” the measures “really weren’t designed to serve our strategic interests.”

The higher costs “ended up being paid by Americans, not by the Chinese, hurt American consumers and businesses,” Yellen said in testimony before the US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means.

Some observers warned that the export rebound could be short-lived.

“Extensive disruptions in the Yangtze River Delta in the past couple of months and Beijing’s determination to carry on with its zero COVID strategy may cause some foreign customers to shift their orders to ... neighboring countries,” Nomura Holdings Inc analysts said in a recent note.

An announcement yesterday by Shanghai that it would lock down a district of 2.7 million people reflected lingering risks.

Imports rose 4.1 percent last month, customs data showed, also beating expectations.

China’s trade surplus was about US$79 billion last month, up from US$51 billion in April, the data showed.

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