China's exports increased by 16.9% in May to USD308.25 billion, significantly rebounding from the 3.9% growth in April and showing the resilience of China's economy even as new Covid outbreaks were reported. The better-than-expected growth also showed that the country's economic recovery has been picking up amid the waning impact of the pandemic on multiple economic fronts, especially industrial and supply chains. Thanks to the effective control of the coronavirus outbreak and the government's efforts in boosting market supply and demand, the country is confident to sustain the current momentum and inject impetus into the sluggish world economic recovery, experts said. The sharp rebound falls within expectations, as domestic factories have accelerated resumption and logistics have been restored after the latest outbreaks in major cities, including Shanghai and Beijing.
The country's imports rose by 4.1% year-on-year to USD229.49 billion in May, expanding for the first time in three months. China's trade grew 11.1% year-on-year last month, posting a trade surplus of USD78.76 billion, expanding 82.3% year-on-year. “The growing trade surplus adds to encouraging evidence of global reliance on Chinese products, highlighting the irreplaceable role of China in global supply chains,” said Bai Ming, Deputy Director of the International Market Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
The Chinese government said more should be done to increase tax-refund support for export companies and expand high-quality product imports, enhance port services including transshipment and customs clearance, and keep international industrial and supply chains stable. China's exports are expected to maintain double-digit growth in June. As the trade surplus widens, the driving force of foreign trade on GDP in the second quarter is expected to increase.
In the first five months, ASEAN remained China's largest trade partner, with trade of CNY2.37 trillion, up 8.1%, accounting for 14.8% of China's total foreign trade volume.
In the first five months, China's exports to the U.S. surged by 12.9% year-on-year to CNY1.51 trillion, while China's imports from the U.S. rose slightly by 2.1% to CNY489.3 billion. During the period, China's trade surplus with the U.S. reached CNY1.02 trillion, up 19% on a yearly basis. Bai Ming said that U.S. restrictions on certain exports to China, such as chips, contributed to its trade gap with China.
China-Russia bilateral trade stood at USD65.81 billion in the first five months, up 28.9% on a yearly basis. In the first five months, China's imports from Russia in U.S. dollar terms grew 46.5% from a year earlier, accelerating from 37.8% in the first four months. But export growth fell from 11.3% in the first four months to 7.2%. In 2021, Russia remained China's top source of energy imports, which totaled CNY334.3 billion, an increase of 47.4%, accounting for 65.3% of China's total imports from Russia. Trade of mechanical and electrical products totaled USD43.4 billion in 2021, rising by 40.7% year-on-year, with China's automobiles, auto parts and mobile phones being popular among Russian consumers. In 2021, bilateral trade stood at USD146.87 billion, a record high. China has been Russia's top trading partner for 12 consecutive years and the two nations have set a goal of reaching USD200 billion in trade by 2024, the Global Times reports.