According to official customs data released on Tuesday, China’s imports and exports slightly decreased by 0.8 percent year-on-year to 6.18 trillion yuan ($890 billion) during the first two months of this year. The General Administration of Customs reported that exports increased 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 3.5 trillion yuan, while imports declined 2.9 percent to 2.68 trillion yuan, resulting in a trade surplus of 810.32 billion yuan, which expanded by 16.2 percent year-on-year.
During this period, China’s trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) surged 9.6 percent year-on-year to 951.93 billion yuan, accounting for 15.4 percent of China’s foreign trade. However, trade with the European Union, the United States, and Japan declined by 2.6 percent, 10.6 percent, and 5.7 percent, respectively. Trade values for these regions were 851.09 billion yuan, 702.98 billion yuan, and 344.92 billion yuan, respectively.
The slight decrease in China’s imports and exports is not unexpected, given the global pandemic’s ongoing impact on the economy. However, China’s economic recovery has been relatively strong compared to other countries, and the country remains a crucial player in the global market. Despite the decline in trade with some key partners, the surge in trade with ASEAN highlights the importance of China’s relationship with its neighbors in Southeast Asia.
As the world continues to navigate the pandemic’s effects on the economy, China’s trade figures will be closely watched, particularly given the country’s role in global supply chains. While some uncertainty remains, analysts remain cautiously optimistic about China’s economic prospects for the year ahead.