A worker looks on as containers are offloaded in Qingdao Port, Shandong province. China's imports declined 15.2 percent year-on-year in February because of weaker internal demand. [Yu Fangping/for China Daily]
Feb exports gaining momentum due to global economic recovery
China's exports kept gaining momentum in February amid increasing global demand, while the trade outlook for the whole year is "cautiously optimistic", Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Friday.
"Generally speaking, foreign trade this year will be slightly better than last year. I am cautiously optimistic about the whole-year prospect," Chen told a briefing during the annual meeting of the country's top legislature.
The Government Work Report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao on March 5 did not include a trade target for 2013 owing to "global uncertainties", while the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body, outlined an 8 percent growth in a report. >>>More
China's foreign trade rose 1 percent from a year earlier in February, with exports surging 21.8 percent, compared with a 25 percent growth in January and a 14 percent expansion in December.
Meanwhile, imports declined 15.2 percent year-on-year, the slowest pace for 13 months, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement. >>>More
The week-long Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in January in 2012 and February this year, distorted the economic indicator.
Total trade in January and February grew 14.2 percent year-on-year, compared with a 7.3-percent growth in 2012, according to the customs administration.
"In addition to the holiday distortion, improving global demand driven by the recovery in the United States supported the steady growth of China's exports in February," said Chen Hufei, an economist at the Bank of Communications Co Ltd.
Trade with the United States, China's biggest export destination, jumped 14.8 percent year-on-year in the first two months, while trade with the European Union, the country's largest trading partner, rose 3.2 percent.
Overseas shipments to the emerging markets also accelerated, with exports to South Africa surging 61.4 percent year-on-year in the first two months, and that to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations expanding 22 percent, according to the customs administration.
"Compared with the pickup in exports, the slow pace in import growth in the first two months suggests that China's domestic demand is weaker than external demand," said Yang Weixiao and Sheng Xu, researchers from Lianxun Securities Co Ltd.
China's imports of iron ore declined 1.5 percent from a year earlier in the first two months, while imports of crude oil contracted 2.4 percent, according to the customs.
Chen Hufei said that in addition to the drop of international commodity prices, China's import slump was also due to the new round of yuan appreciation amid the devaluation of currencies, including the Japanese yen, the US dollar and the British pound, caused by quantitative easing measures.
"Significant depreciation of major currencies will have a big impact on emerging economies as well as Chinese exports and imports," Chen Deming said. >>>More
"I'm concerned about inflation for this year's economic growth, and I'm worried about the competitive devaluations, which will lead to an oversupply of money and have a negative spillover on global economic growth."
He said that China's retail sales this year will "maintain a growth of 14 percent" after growing 14.3 percent year-on-year to 21 trillion yuan ($3.4 trillion) in 2012.
The surging online sales, which accounted for 4.32 percent of retail sales, was expected to reach 1.1 or 1.2 trillion yuan in 2012, compared with 780 billion yuan in 2011, the minister said. >>>More
China maintains reasonable trade surplus
China has managed to keep its trade surplus at 3 percent of its GDP for the last two years, a reasonable level by international standards, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said Friday. >>>More
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CChina is committed to pushing forward the Doha round of talks in response to what it sees as recent positive signs that may lead to progress in the global trade talks around the end of this year, the minister of commerce said on Friday.
China will hold talks toward bilateral investment agreements with more countries and regions, especially the developed ones, to remove restrictions that Chinese companies have encountered, Chen Deming said at a news conference on the sidelines of the National People's Congress' annual session in Beijing. >>More
China supports enterprises to defend legitimate rights overseas
Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said Friday that the Chinese government will support domestic firms investing overseas that wish to safeguard their rights according to law.
Chen said recipient countries should create a more transparent and just environment to boost the confidence of foreign investors. >>More
China urges EU to properly handle solar panel friction
Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming Friday urged politicians and entrepreneurs of the European Union to properly handle the solar panel friction with China to avoid greater losses for both sides.
"We hope to address the dispute through negotiations between Chinese and European companies and boost our industrial cooperation and seek third-party markets," Chen told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress. >>More
Commerce minister denies stagnation in opening up
Minister of Commerce Chen Deming on Friday pledged that China will open even wider to the outside world.
Chen made the remarks in response to a question on whether China is at a standstill in opening up and fulfilling the pledges it made to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in its 2001 ascension. >>>More
No timetable for China-ROK-Japan FTA talks
China on Friday expressed patience in negotiations with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan to establish a Free Trade Area in east Asia, saying that there is not a timetable for the FTA talks.
"I hope we could be a little faster, but we do not set a deadline," Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said at a press conference on the sidelines of the parliament annual session. >>>More