China’s Foreign Trade: Surplus Rises to $82.6 Billion

Data turned out better than forecast: exports +7.6%

China’s foreign trade surplus rose to $82.62 billion in May 2024, up from a surplus of $65.55 billion in the same month last year. The result surpassed forecasts expected at $73 billion.

China Customs said “this is the best performance since February, with exports rising much more than imports.” Chinese exports rose 7.6% in May (vs. forecasts of +6% and +1.5% in April), while imports rose 1.8%, well below the 4.2% and +8.4% expected in April.

Imports are expected to rise again in June-July, especially on the back of higher energy consumption. In particular, it is noted that in January-April 2024, China’s natural gas consumption was 143.73 billion cubic meters, up 11.9% year-on-year. In April alone, gas consumption rose by 11.8% to 35.46 billion cubic meters. From January to April, China produced 83 billion cubic meters of natural gas, up 5% from 2023. During the same period, the country increased its imports of pipeline natural gas by 20.7% and LNG by $21.38 billion.