China’s trade surplus surged to $31.5 billion in July, the highest level in more than two years, as exports rose to a record level.
Outbound shipments climbed 20.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 17 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists. Imports climbed 22.9 percent, the customs bureau said on its website Wednesday. The surplus exceeded a median forecast of $27.4 billion.
A dock worker pulls a cart through the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai. (Bloomberg)
The world’s biggest exporting nation faces the threat of weakening demand as developed nations from Europe to the U.S. and Japan struggle to rein in their debt burdens. The U.S. Federal Reserve countered a global rout in stocks by pledging Tuesday to keep interest rates at a record low through mid-2013 and to use additional measures “as appropriate.”
“The turmoil in global financial markets hasn’t hit China’s trade sector yet,” said Yao Wei, a Hong Kong-based economist with Societe Generale SA. “The real challenge is ahead.”
Twelve-month non-deliverable yuan forwards strengthened 0.5 percent to 6.3684 per dollar in Hong Kong as of 11:38 a.m. local time, set for the biggest gain since November on the trade figures and the Fed’s statement. The yuan touched a 17-year high of 6.4120 Wednesday.
Exports were $175.1 billion and imports were $143.6 billion. Import growth compared with a median 22 percent estimate and a 19.3 percent increase the previous month. The export gain compared with a 17.9 percent gain in June.