China's foreign trade showing signs of stabilization, experts say

2023-11-08 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A US cargo ship docks at the Qingdao Port, Shandong province. (Photo by Yu Shaoyue/For China Daily)

Trade: Export structure of nation said to be improving

China's foreign trade registered year-on-year growth in October, after a continuously narrowing slump since July, adding to the recent signs of a gradual stabilization in the world's second-largest economy thanks to a slew of supportive policy measures, officials and analysts said.

The country's foreign trade performance will continue to improve in the coming months as the global market embraces a consumption boom buoyed by the festival season, and the base effect gradually weakens, which will inject much-needed momentum into global economic recovery, they added.

In October, China's foreign trade in goods was worth 3.54 trillion yuan ($486 billion), a year-on-year increase of 0.9 percent. Compared with last year, exports dropped 3.1 percent to 1.97 trillion yuan, while imports surged 6.4 percent to 1.57 trillion yuan, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.

More favorable dynamics have been gathering in China's foreign trade sector recently, resulting in year-on-year growth of merchandise trade in October, said Lyu Daliang, spokesman for the administration.

Citing the latest trade prosperity survey conducted by the administration, Lyu said the proportion of enterprises that are optimistic about future import and export growth has gone up, and China's foreign trade will continue its upward trajectory.

China's import data in October, which posted positive growth for the first time in US dollar terms since March, indicates a gradual recovery of domestic demand — a significant driving force to underpin the nation's sustained economic recovery, said Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank.

The International Monetary Fund forecast that the Chinese economy will grow 5.4 percent in 2023, meeting the growth target of around 5 percent.

Gita Gopinath, the IMF's first deputy managing director, said the projection was revised upward from 5 percent in October, reflecting a stronger-than-expected third-quarter output and recent policy announcements.

China will further expand market access and increase imports, Premier Li Qiang said at the opening ceremony of the ongoing sixth China International Import Expo in Shanghai, amid a gloomy world merchandise outlook and intensifying trade protectionism.

Reiterating Beijing's commitment to advancing opening-up, Li said the imports of goods and services were set to reach a cumulative $17 trillion in the next five years.

Though the increased downward pressure on the global economy and rising geopolitical tensions are still a drag on China's export activities, the export structure has been improving due to the country's ongoing efforts to upgrade its manufacturing sector, experts said.

Chang Ran, a senior researcher at the Zhixin Investment Research Institute, said the year-on-year decrease in China's exports in October widened 2.5 percentage points compared with September as stiff challenges remain in an economy facing a grim external environment and lackluster global demand. He said this suggests that the foundation of export recovery has not yet been fully established.

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