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China imports grow faster than exports

Beijing, April 22, 2011

China's imports are likely to grow at a faster clip than exports in 2011, leading to further improvements in the country's trade balance, the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.

The projection of stronger imports follows from the government's supportive policies and rising global commodities prices, the ministry said in a report on trade outlook on its website.

 "Import growth is likely to continue to outstrip export growth due to a combination of factors -- stronger domestic demand, policies on expanding imports and rising global commodity prices," the ministry said.

"Export orders are increasing in line with the sustained recovery of the world economy and improvements in the external market, but the picture for exports looks complex," the report said.

Some of the improvement in the overall balance will come about simply from the depreciation of the US dollar in global markets, which makes the imported value of dollar-denominated commodities greater. The flip side of that is the difficulty faced by Chinese exporters from a rising yuan that makes Chinese goods less competitive globally.     

Chinese exporters, particularly smaller exporters, are also struggling to cope with rising raw materials and labour costs.

The central bank's repeated rises in interest rates and bank reserve requirements have increased funding costs and led to a strain on capital for some exporters, the commerce ministry said.

"In addition, the renminbi (yuan) is facing relatively big pressures to appreciate, which have affected company orders to some extent," it added.

The ministry did not give exact forecasts on exports and imports for 2011. China's trade surplus is on track to narrow for the third straight year from last year's $183 billion.

China recorded a $1.02 billion trade deficit in the first quarter -- its first quarterly trade deficit since 2004 -- due to domestic economic strength and rising global commodity prices.

China, under pressure from the United States and others to let its yuan currency rise more quickly as a way to cut its big trade surplus, is trying to imbalance its economy toward domestic consumption, cutting reliance on exports and giving the world a lift through surging demand for imports. - Reuters




Tags: China | Exports | Imports | balance of payments |

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