China’s October exports exceed forecast as firms stock up ahead of rising tariffs

China exports rose 15.6% year-on-year, better than the 11% growth economies in a Reuters poll had expected.

Shipping containers in China

Exports and imports for China were better-than-expected in October. Shipments to the United States (US) boomed as businesses raced to beat the higher tariffs that would soon come into effect in the coming months.

China exports rose 15.6% year-on-year, better than the 11% growth economists in a Reuters poll had expected. September exports grew 14.5% on a year-on-year basis, said the General Administration of Customs.

The country recorded a trade surplus of US$34.0 billion last month. Trade surplus with the US was at US$31.8 billion, compared to US$34.1 billion in September. The US is China’s biggest overseas export destination.

Meanwhile, imports soared 21.4% for October, better than the 14.3% growth in September and analysts’ expectations of a 14% increase.

Experts say exporters are facing a rise in orders as businesses order ahead of the higher tariffs. The weaker Chinese Yuan caused by a slower economic growth is also helping companies cushion on the extra tariff fees, due to its lower exchange rate.

However, it is unlikely for both the export and import growth to sustain in the months to come, as Chinese factories are facing a slower momentum. October was the month which saw the effects of the latest US tariffs on China come into play.

Official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) numbers – an indicator for manufacturing activity - showed China’s manufacturing sector growing in the weakest pace in over two years in October, falling below analysts’ expectations. China’s Caixin/Markit PMI, the tester that measures activity among smaller Chinese firms also stagnated, edging up only slightly from 50.0 points in September to 50.1 points in October.

The soft factory numbers translate to slower economic growth for the manufacturing-dependent nation. For the third quarter, China’s economy grew the weakest pace since the first quarter of 2009.

The Chinese Yuan was trading ¥6.93 against the greenback at 6.53am UTC.

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