China Global Exports Surge In January But Trade With US Tumbles

Amid intensifying trade talks, Chinese exports rebounded dramatically in January as companies trying to ship goods ahead of the Lunar New Year shutdown likely exaggerated the gains.

In USD terms, exports rose 9.1% in January from a year earlier (far above expectations of a 3.3% decline and December's 4.4% YoY drop). Imports also smashed expectations: falling just 1.5% against expectations for a 10.2% collapse.

In Yuan terms, Exports rose and even more impressive 13.9% YoY and imports rose 2.9% YoY (both far better than expected).

The overall trade surplus fell in both Yuan and USD terms from December.

Impressive numbers, but as Bloomberg details, the Lunar New Year break coming about 10 days earlier than last year probably boosted January’s shipments, as companies rushed to ship more goods ahead of the holiday shutdown of many factories and companies.

Trade with US tumbled with both exports and imports plunging further in January.

China Jan. exports to U.S. was $36.54b and imports from U.S. was $9.24b, according to website of General Administration of Customs.

Also of note, China’s crude oil imports -2.7%MoM to 10.07m b/d last month, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from General Administration of Customs Thursday.

"We expect that growth of exports in 2019 will decelerate from 2018, even if there is a deal not to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, due to lackluster global economy,” UBS AG economist Ning Zhang said.

“But if there’s a deal to scrap all the existing tariffs, that will be a different scenario, and the exports will not weaken significantly."

The initial reaction was a kneejerk higher in yuan but that is fading...