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China's foreign trade shows more apparent upward momentum

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2023-11-08

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This aerial photo taken on Oct. 26, 2023 shows trucks transporting containers at a railway freight yard in Qinzhou City, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Xinhua/Zhang Ailin]

BEIJING -- Despite the sluggish global trade since the beginning of the year, China has seen its imports and exports maintain stable operation, with a growing accumulation of positive factors.

In the first 10 months, the country's total import and export of goods expanded 0.03 percent year on year to 34.32 trillion yuan (about 4.78 trillion U.S. dollars), reversing from a decrease of 0.2 percent in the first three quarters, official data showed Tuesday.

Exports grew 0.4 percent year on year to 19.55 trillion yuan for January-October, while imports declined 0.5 percent from a year earlier to 14.77 trillion yuan, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Monthly data has also indicated improvement. In October alone, the country's foreign trade rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 3.54 trillion yuan, ending a four-month declining streak, the data showed.

The country's exports shrank 3.1 percent year on year last month, while imports increased by 6.4 percent, and the growth rate was 7.3 percentage points quicker than that in September.

In October, China's trade surplus contracted 27.9 percent year on year to 405.47 billion yuan, according to the data.

In the first 10 months of 2023, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) remained China's largest trade partner. China's trade with ASEAN countries rose 0.9 percent year on year to 5.23 trillion yuan, accounting for 15.2 percent of the country's total trade value.

China's trade with the European Union eased 1.6 percent from a year earlier, while its trade with the United States declined 7.6 percent year on year during the January-October period.

The country's trade with five Central Asian countries recorded strong growth, soaring 34.8 percent year on year, while its trade with Belt and Road participating countries rose 3.2 percent year on year.

In the January-October period, imports and exports by private enterprises increased by 6.2 percent to 18.24 trillion yuan, accounting for 53.1 percent of the country's total.

A breakdown of the data showed that China's exports of machinery and electronic products, which accounted for 58.5 percent of total exports, increased 2.8 percent during the period.

Auto exports remained a bright spot, with the export value of automobiles surging 88.5 percent from a year earlier in the first ten months.

Amid the sluggish global economic recovery, China's exports have shown strong resilience, said Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at J.P. Morgan.

"On one hand, diversification of export destinations has helped stabilize foreign trade. On the other hand, exports of automobiles have risen rapidly and electronic products exports have also shown a rapid recovery trend," he said.

China's import volume of crude oil surged by 14.4 percent during the period, while that of iron ore rose 6.5 percent.

China's foreign trade has demonstrated improved structure and remarkable resilience, said Zhou Maohua, an analyst with the China Everbright Bank, noting that as the next few months coincide with the peak shopping season in foreign countries, China's exports are expected to strengthen.

The country's import needs further improvement, as there is still room for recovery of domestic demand, Zhou added.

China has expressed its commitment to sharing its market opportunities and has pledged to actively expand imports, implement negative lists for cross-border service trade and maintain efforts to streamline market access.

"We have the confidence to further consolidate the good momentum in the fourth quarter and achieve the goal of the whole year in stabilizing and improving the quality of foreign trade," said Shu Jueting, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce.