(Bloomberg) -- China’s exports continued to expand at a strong pace in December, helping to underpin the economy’s recovery. Growth in imports accelerated.

  • Exports grew 18.1% in dollar terms in December from a year earlier, while imports rose 6.5%, the customs agency said Thursday. That left a trade surplus of $78.17 billion for the month, the highest on record. Economists had forecast that exports would increase by 15% while imports would rise by 5.7%

Key Insights

  • Exports surged last year as the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns fueled overseas demand for personal protective gear and stay-at-home electronic devices. With the pandemic largely under control domestically, factories were able to resume production earlier than most other places, enabling China to meet rising global demand
  • December’s shipments likely eased after a bumper month in November, while a recovery in global growth helped to support momentum, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists said before the data release. Import growth likely rebounded because of more working days in December, they said
  • New lockdowns in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere could continue to spur demand for Chinese-made consumer goods, though they will weigh on the global recovery. China is also battling a new wave of virus cases, with restrictions to contain the infections in some areas already causing disruptions to business activity
  • Even so, UBS Group AG’s Wang Tao sees strong export growth in 2021, with more stable U.S.-China relations helping to reduce uncertainty for trade and supply chains, she wrote in a report before the data

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