BEIJING – China’s exports rose by double digits in November but growth declined, while imports accelerated in a sign of stronger domestic demand.
Exports rose 21.4% over a year earlier to $325.5 billion, decelerating from October’s 27.1% growth, customs data showed Tuesday. Imports surged 31.7% to $253.8 billion, up from the previous month’s 20.6% rate.
China’s exports have been boosted by foreign demand at a time when other global competitors are hampered by anti-coronavirus controls.
Stronger imports suggest consumer and other demand is rebounding after a dip brought on by a government crackdown on debt in the real estate industry. Economic growth sank to an unexpectedly low 4.9% over a year earlier in the three months ending in September.
Factory activity also was hampered by power shortages that started in September and the global shortage of semiconductors used in products from cars to smartphones. An earlier survey of manufacturers showed activity rebounded in November as power supplies returned to normal.
“Exports and imports beat expectations last month thanks to stronger demand and easing semiconductor shortages,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.
“In the near-term, the emergence of the Omicron variant is likely to support demand for China’s exports," said Evans-Pritchard. "But its impact further ahead is still uncertain.”
China’s global trade surplus fell 4.9% from a year earlier to $71.7 billion. That was smaller than October’s record $84.5 billion but still among the highest ever.
Exports to the United States rose 5.3% over a year earlier to $54.7 billion despite lingering tariff hikes in a dispute over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus.
Imports of American goods surged 22% to $17.8 billion, but China recorded a $37 billion surplus.