Daily Management Review

China’s March Exports Drop Less Than Expected, Surprise Growth In Imports


China’s March Exports Drop Less Than Expected, Surprise Growth In Imports
Exports for the month of March for the Chinese economy dropped less than was being expected by the market even as the country noted a surprise increase in imports amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic wrecking havoc through the world and has impacted global demand as well as the ability of China to manufacture and ship goods.
According to data from the Chinese customs administration, there was a 3.5 per cent year-on-year decline in Chinese exports in March while there was a 2.4 per cent growth year-on-year in imports. Markets had expected a drop in exports of 12.8 per cent as well as a 7 per cent decline in imports for March.
For the month of March, China’s new biggest trading partner bloc turned out to be the Association of South East Asian Nations as the trading between the partners surpassed that between China and the European Union. The Chinese customs administration spokesman Li Kuiwen said at a press conference in Beijing that this was partly because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit as well as because of an increasing regional semiconductor trade.
The overall decline in Chinese trade was because of China’s own restrictions on businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic as well as its slowing economy. Exports were also affected by the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic outside of China.
Even though economic activity in China has resumed, exports and imports have been affected because most of the companies are still not functioning at full capacity. This has restricted their capacity for production and consequently exports, as well as demand for imported materials for use in production. And currently more and more of the foreign markets of China are locking down because of the virus pandemic which can negate the development of domestic Chinese companies starting to function and the virus situation in the country is improving.
According to experts, the current situation in the rest of the world because of the pandemic will not only hit the foreign demand for Chinese goods but also disrupt the supply chain of raw materials and intermediate components.
The current year could be the worst year for international trade since the Great Depression, the World Trade Organization warned last week.
In order to combat the situation, various governments, central banks and policy makers have announced record measures and rescue packages for their respective economies to ward off the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic which has shut down non-essential businesses and forced governments to issue stay at home and work from home orders for its citizens. However there is still little evidence that the virus pandemic is close to its peak globally.
A number of measures to "stabilize trade” such as building more cross-border e-commerce zones and moving the main trade fair online have been ordered by the  State Council in China.