China's foreign trade in goods from Jan to May totals 17.5 trillion yuan, up 6.3% y-o-y
Published: Jun 07, 2024 11:47 AM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

China's foreign trade in the first five months of 2024 recorded a yearly increase of 6.3 percent to 17.5 trillion ($2.42 trillion), further consolidating the strong momentum amid the country's steady economic recovery, data from China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) revealed on Friday. 

Observers noted that the country's trade performance aligned with expectations, and attributed the trade's continuous rebound to China's production strengths, market potential, and diversified trading partners, while maintaining a positive outlook for the upcoming months.

Exports in the first five months of 2024 recorded an annual increase of 6.1 percent to 9.95 trillion yuan, while the imports amounted 7.55 trillion yuan, up 6.4 percent yearly, according to GAC data.

While the global trade pattern is changing, China's trade sector continues to enjoy buoyant prospects thanks to its strengths in production capacity and market potential, Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin School of Administration, told the Global Times on Friday. Cong remained confident in China's further growth in external demand and imports. 

The figures also reflected China's foreign trade recovery which had been majorly impacted last year, Li Changan, a professor at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies of the University of International Business and Economics, said on Friday. 

Noticeably, trade figures in May reached a yearly increase of 8.6 percent to 3.71 trillion yuan, recording an accelerated monthly increase, according to Lü Daliang, a GAC spokesperson.  

Exports in May stood at 2.15 trillion yuan, surging 11.2 percent year-on-year, while the imports grew by 5.2 percent to 1.56 trillion yuan. 

China's exports of electromechanical products in the first five months totaled 5.87 trillion yuan, up 7.9 percent and accounting 59 percent of the country's total exports, according to official data. 

Specifically, exports of integrated circuits recorded a year-on-year increase of 25.5 percent to 444.73 billion yuan, while the exports of autos totaled 329.7 billion yuan, up 23.8 percent yearly. 

China has been working on upgrading its industrial structure by shifting away from focusing on processing primary products, with a growing share targeting on advanced and technological products, which reflects the country's developing competitiveness for exports in the future, Cong noted. 

Echoing Cong's sentiments, Li told the Global Times that the strong export figure for electromechanical products as well as other commodities with high added value is also a major achievement for China's high-quality opening-up. 

Cong meanwhile noted that increased imports of bulk commodities reflected China's growing consumption and production demand, indicating the country's stable economic development has boosted the import demand. 

The export growth rate of ships surged 100 percent year-on-year during the above-mentioned period, while the figure for new-energy vehicles stood at 26.3 percent. 

Both Cong and Li highlighted strengthened trade cooperation with a more diversified grouping of partners including the ASEAN and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner countries, which will also help China to cope with the challenges posed by "decoupling" practices implemented by the US and other Western countries. 

ASEAN remained China's largest trading partner from January to May with a total value of 2.77 trillion yuan, surging by 10.8 percent year-on-year and accounting 15.8 percent of the country's total foreign trade. China's trade with BRI partner countries stood at 8.31 trillion yuan, up 7.2 percent yearly. 

Enhanced cooperation with ASEAN is also a vivid example demonstrating the regional economic development bolstered by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Cong said. Multiple Chinese cities recorded strong foreign trade figures with RCEP member countries so far in 2024, as the world's largest trade pact has been fully implemented across all 15 members for a full year. 

Moving forward, observers remained optimistic about China's foreign trade given the largely favorable conditions. Li expected more targeted policies will be rolled out, while the continuous optimization of commodity structure and diversifying trading partners will help cope with the impact resulting from increasing trade barriers among other external challenges. 

Meanwhile, China's services trade also expanded. In the first four months of 2024, the total import and export of services increasing 16.8 percent to 2.43 trillion yuan year on year, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Friday. 

Travel services maintained a growth momentum as the major sector in the services trade, with the import and export of travel services amounting to 660.03 billion yuan, an increase of 48.6 percent year-on-year.