China’s exports continued to surge in May, although at a slower pace than the previous month, fuelled by strong global demand as more economies around the world opened up. Imports soared, boosted by rising commodity prices.
Exports grew almost 28% in dollar terms in May from a year earlier, the customs administration said on Monday, weaker than forecast and below the pace in April, but still well above historical growth rates. Imports soared 51.1%, the fastest pace since March 2010, leaving a trade surplus of $45.5 billion for the month.
Overseas demand for Chinese goods remained strong as economies from the UK to the US emerged from months of lockdown. Exports to emerging markets like India and in Southeast Asia, which have seen a resurgence in Covid-19 outbreaks, also climbed. South Korea’s exports, a bellwether for world trade, surged the most since 1988 in May, a sign that the global recovery is strengthening.
“It’s still a fairly healthy set of numbers,” Jonathan Cavenagh, senior market strategist at Informa Global Markets, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We know that global demand is still recovering and that trend is likely to continue towards the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter as the major developed economies open up.”
Exports to the US moderated, although still grew at a healthy pace of about 21% growth, while shipments to the European Union slowed to an almost
13% expansion. Purchases by Indian companies jumped more than 100% for the second straight month.
There was also a shift in categories driving export growth. Sales of household appliances and lighting grew, while there was a more than 41% drop of textile and fabric goods, which includes masks and protective clothing.
These changes “seem to be consistent with our view that strengthening exports of non-Covid related products offset weakening exports of Covid-related products as global vaccination proceeds,” Goldman Sachs Group economists wrote in a note.
China’s exports will keep up their good momentum in the first half of the year, Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said last week.