The US-China trade war appears to be a diminishing
concern for city leaders in Shenzhen, judging by the latest data from the city’s
According to the Shenzhen
Daily, in August, Shenzhen’s exports shot up 11.1% YoY, bringing its total
for the first eight months to RMB 1.4 trillion, up 5.5%. Driving this was trade
with the EU and countries along the Belt and Road Initiative. Although it is
now standard practice in mainland media reports to not mention trade with the
US, the data shows trade with the EU came in at RMB 28.93 billion in August, up
a healthy 25.2% YoY. Countries along the Belt and Road Initiative were RMB 58.37
billion, up 9.2% YoY.
Export tax rebates appear to have helped, as exports
of Christmas products and ceramic products increased by more than 80%, while
household electrical appliances rose by more than 20%.
Private enterprises continued to take market share
from SOEs. In August, the split went to 60/40, up 3.6 percentage points from
Food held up the import numbers. In August, agricultural
products rose 17.1%. Fresh fruits and nuts, meat and chop, seawater products
and other consumer products increased by more than 20%.
Dongguan and Foshan, the two cities most closely linked to Guangzhou, have been dueling for attention and prestige for decades. Both are “Tier 2”, behind Guangzhou and Shenzhen, yet with lofty ambitions. Trade data from the first half of the year paints an interesting picture of how each is doing. (We have City features, hyperlinked above, that are worth reading, in case you missed them.)
Foshan has the bigger economy, but in recent years Dongguan has been closing the gap thanks to large hi-tech investments by some of the country’s biggest manufacturers. It also has a bigger foreign trade sector, nearly three times the size of Foshan’s, which illustrates how Dongguan is more like Shenzhen and Foshan is more like Guangzhou.
Continue reading Dongguan and Foshan: contrasts and strengths
There is an interesting change under way in the structure of Shenzhen’s economy, which is starting to show up better in its trade statistics. While imports continue to fall, exports are recovering, according to the latest data from the city’s Customs. Overall trade at RMB1.34 trillion for the first half was down 0.9% YoY, which was 0.6 percentage points lower than the previous five months, i.e. June saw a continued deceleration. This was due to sagging demand for imports, at RMB580.08 billion, which were down 7.8% (0.8 percentage points lower than the previous five months). Exports got a boost, however, apparently from targeted rebate support in certain sectors as well as new sectors taking off. They reached RMB757.14 billion, up 5.1%, which was 0.3 percentage points higher than the previous five months).
Continue reading Shenzhen’s foreign trade stats point to change
Following the release last week of national data showing the country’s economy had slowed to its lowest growth rate in three decades (6.2%), the National Bureau of Statistics has released data showing Guangdong’s GDP grew faster than the national average, up 6.5% at RMB5.05 trillion.
Highlights of the data, according to the provincial government, were:
Continue reading Guangdong GDP up 6.5%
We have been waiting for Guangdong’s foreign trade data since the national Customs administration indicated recently that the country overall had seen its exports hold up in May. We had already seen Shenzhen’s numbers last week, which were decent, too. Today we see that the province as a whole saw exports accelerate their recent YoY growth trend.
Continue reading Guangdong exports up in May
It would seem that the US-China trade war is having it hardest impact on sales of U.S. goods in China, not the other way round. The country’s trade surplus surged last month to its highest level this year, as imports fell 8.5% YoY to $172.2 billion, led by a whopping 26.8% fall in imports from the U.S.
The overall import number marked the steepest decline in three years and was well ahead of consensus forecasts for a 3.5% drop.
Exports, on the other hand, appear to be holding up. They edged up 1.1% year-on-year to $213.9 billion in May after a 2.7% decrease the month before. That beat economists’ median forecast of a 3.9% decline. It was despite exports to the U.S. falling 4.2% year-on-year to $37.7 billion. They now account for around 18% of China’s overall exports.
The overall surplus swelled to $41.7 billion in May, the highest since December and more than triple April’s $13.8 billion. It was up 67.5% from a year earlier.
Guangdong’s trade figures have not yet been released, but the province’s share of the national total have been rising so far this year. However, May was the month when Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies was put on the US blacklist, so all eyes will be on the provincial data when it is released.
Read more at Caixin Global.
Guangdong’s recovering foreign trade numbers have been somewhat surprising since the start of this year. The downturn in US-China relations and the imposition of trade tariffs had been expected to hit China’s biggest exporting province the hardest. And yet trade was still up – barely, at 0.8% YoY in the first four months, but still not as bad as had been feared.
Two reasons for this have been revealed by sources within the Guangdong Customs Department recently: Russia and Latin America.
From January to April this year, trade with Russia jumped 26.5% to RMB19.74 billion. Most of that was exports, at RMB18.5 billion. This is only a fraction of the province’s overall exports, at RMB1.2 trillion, but it is enough to move the needle.
Latin American trade was much larger, and not all of it was exports. According to the Customs data, from January to April, Guangdong traded goods worth RMB92.18 billion yuan from Latin American countries, up 10.3% year-on-year. Exports were RMB64.51 billion, up 6.9%; imports were RMB27.67 billion yuan, up 19.2%.
Japan’s Panasonic has decided to increase its investment and expand production in Shunde, according to Nanfang Daily. The new plant will focus on expanding the production capacity of air purification equipment and fresh air system, which will be sold globally, the company said.
Shunde’s total imports and exports to Japan reached RMB7.93 billion in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 16.5%. Currently more than 50 well-known Japanese companies have invested in Shunde, with a total investment of over US$940 million.
Read more (in Chinese).
Foshan’s exports remained resilient strong in April, helping the city to a 6.2% rise over the first four months of the year, above the province’s average. Mechanical and electrical products accounted for more than two-thirds of the RMB101.42 billion total, while the private sector was more than half of the total, rising 8.6% YoY.
Imports remained strong too, up 5.4% to RMB32.97 billion yuan. They were dominated by raw materials such as scrap metal, plastics and sawn timber. However, a standout was integrated circuits, which came in at RMB1.28 billion yuan, up 39.1% YoY. Auto parts and accessories was also noteworthy, up 19.4%.