Green Asia

China’s trade slump likely eased further in September, adds to stabilisation signs: Reuters poll

BEIJING : China’s exports likely contracted at a slower pace for a second consecutive month in September, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, adding to a string of recent data suggesting the world’s second-largest economy is stabilising.

Data for September are expected to show a 7.6 per cent fall in outbound shipments from a year earlier, following a drop of 8.8 per cent in August, according to the median forecast of 39 economists in the poll.

Chinese policymakers face a daunting task in trying to revive growth after a brief post-COVID bounce in the wake of persistent weakness in the crucial property industry, a faltering currency and weak global demand for its manufactured goods.

Analysts are divided over the effectiveness of the policy support officials have introduced to date to shore up growth.

Moody’s and Nomura both forecast overseas demand for Chinese goods slumped further last month and are predicting a 10 per cent and 9 per cent drop in exports, respectively, while BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs expect outbound shipments to have fallen by just 6 per cent.

Industrial output grew 4.5 per cent in August from a year earlier, accelerating from the 3.7 per cent pace seen in July, and retail sales also increased at a faster 4.6 per cent pace last month, aided by the summer travel season and recording the quickest growth since May.

Yet, a durable recovery is far from assured, analysts say, especially as confidence remains low in the embattled property sector and continues to be a major drag on growth.

Imports are expected to have shrunk by 6.0 per cent, after dropping 7.3 per cent in August, reflecting improving domestic demand.

And the decline in China-bound shipments from South Korea, a leading indicator of the Asian giant’s imports, eased to 17.6 per cent last month, the slowest in 11 months.

The median estimate in the poll indicated that China’s trade surplus would increase, with analysts predicting it will come in at $70.00 billion, compared with $68.36 billion in August.

China’s trade data will be released on Friday.

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