China’s customs administration reported on Friday that the country’s exports and imports in December fell less than expected. This milder slump meant that trade still grew for all of 2022. Exports fell by 9.9% YoY in December, slightly better than the 10% decline forecasted by a Reuters poll. Imports fell by 7.5% YoY in December, also better than the 9.8% decline predicted by Reuters.
Strong exports have bolstered China’s economy in the last two years. However, economists anticipate a slowdown in demand from the U.S. and Europe. Already, China’s exports started to fall year-on-year in October for the first time since May 2020, according to Wind Information. For all of 2022, China’s exports grew by 7.7% and imports by 1.1%, the customs agency said.
Cross-border e-commerce between China and other countries grew by 9.8% in 2022 from a year ago to 2.11 trillion yuan ($301.42 billion), according to official figures. Such direct-to-consumer exports rose by 11.7% year-on-year. This marked a slowdown from 2021, when China’s cross-border e-commerce rose by 15% to 1.98 trillion yuan ($311.5 billion) and exports surged by 24.5%.
China’s imports from the EU and the U.S. fell in 2022, while those from ASEAN grew slightly. This trend is likely to continue as the US-China trade tensions and the ongoing pandemic continue to impact the global economy. Furthermore, the increasing focus on self-reliance and de-globalization is likely to further reduce the reliance on imports from other countries.
However, it’s worth noting that the Chinese economy has shown remarkable resilience in the face of the pandemic and the trade tensions with the US. The country’s GDP growth has been among the highest in the world, and it’s likely to continue to be a major player in the global economy in the coming years.
In conclusion, while China’s exports and imports fell less than expected in December, trade still grew for all of 2022. The country’s strong exports have bolstered its economy in the last two years, but economists anticipate a slowdown in demand from the U.S. and Europe. However, China’s cross-border e-commerce and direct-to-consumer exports have grown, and the country’s economy has shown remarkable resilience in the face of the pandemic and trade tensions with the US.