Chinese Exports Collapse Leading To 2nd Largest Trade Deficit On Record

Tyler Durden's picture

Plenty of excuses out there for this evening's collosal miss in Chinese exports (-18.1% YoY vs an expectation of a 7.5% rise) mainly based on timing issues over the Lunar New Year (but didn't the 45 economists who forecast this data know the dates before they forecast?) This is a 6-sigma miss and plunges China's trade balance to its biggest miss on record and 2nd largest deficit on record. Combining Jan and Feb data (i.e. smoothing over the holiday), exports are still down 1.6% YoY - not good for the much-heralded global recovery. Exports to the rest of the BRICs were all down over 20% but no there is no contagion from an emerging market crisis.

 

Even when the trade deficit was last this large, economists were more accurate - this is the biggest miss on record...

 

Seasonally-adjusted the data is stunningly bad...

  • *CHINA FEB. SEASONALLY ADJUSTED EXPORTS FALL 34% MOM
  • *CHINA FEB. SEASONALLY ADJUSTED IMPORTS FALL 0.4% MOM

and non-seaonally-adjusted

  • *CHINA'S FEB. EXPORTS FALL 18.1% FROM YEAR EARLIER (vs +7.5% expectations)

The excuse...

"The Spring Festival factor caused sharp fluctuations in the monthly growth rate as well as the monthly deficit," Customs said in a statement accompanying the data.

 

Chinese traders followed their "business habit" of bringing forward exports ahead of the holiday, and focusing on imports immediately afterwards, it added.

But, our simple question is - didn't they already know this when applying their forecasts? If so - then why a 6-standard-deviation miss?

At least they didn't blame the weather?!!

It seems the massive imports of copper - to act as collateral for all the shadow banking loans - also did not help as imports surged...

*CHINA JAN.-FEB. COPPER, PRODUCT IMPORTS 915,000 TONS

 

All that apparent demand and yet the price is collapsing - not good for the credit unwind

And what does it say about the US that our trade balance with China collapsed MoM...