The China customs bureau just released its April trade data, which came at a surprisingly strong $11.4 billion, a $11.3 billion jump over March, well over consensus of a $3.2 billion surplus, and was the highest trade surplus posted by China in 2011. Net exports to both the EU and US, the traditionally biggest export partners for China, increased M/M from $9.5 billion to $10.3 billion, and from $13.0 billion to $15.1 billion, respectively. Overall, the key trading partners did not see a major change, and the marginal variable appears to have been the Rest of the World category which in April jumped from a trade surplus of $8.0 billion from $2.9 billion the month before. Of course, with even Europe now disclosing openly it is lying in disseminating data, it would be foolish to assume any of this data is even remotely realistic, and is likely nothing more than a politically palatable smoke screen for the ongoing Strategic and Economic Dialogue (discussed earlier), and will be used to indicate that even as Chinese exports once again pick up, Geithner can not really blame it on the USDCNY, which hit a new record high of 6.4950. No matter the data, this most recent jump in exports, will surely force the peanut gallery to renew squawks for unpegging the currency.
Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, urged the U.S. administration to press China on the currency issue and also said Congress should pass legislation to protect American workers from an undervalued yuan. Brown and Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican from Maine, have proposed a measure to allow additional sanctions to address currency issues.
“The Obama Administration has a unique opportunity during this meeting to urge Chinese officials to stop the unfair and unjust currency manipulation that threatens American manufacturing and eliminates American jobs,” Brown said in a statement. “China’s unfair currency manipulation has gone on for far too long, and it’s clear that legislation is needed to level the playing field.”
The U.S. has delayed its semi-annual foreign-exchange report, which had been due on April 15, until after this week’s meetings. The previous report, due on Oct. 15, 2010, was released on Feb. 4 and declined to brand China a currency manipulator while saying the No. 2 U.S. trading partner has made “insufficient” progress on allowing the yuan to rise.
China argues that its currency is not a key cause of global economic imbalances, and highlights the role of U.S. restrictions on Chinese purchases of high-technology products in lopsided trade between the two nations.
Here is the data graphically.
Total monthly trade balance:
Trade surplus by key trading partner: