China's latest trading data surprises the market
Chen Jiahe

Editor's Note: Chen Jiahe is the chief investment officer at Novem Arcae Technologies. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In November 2020, China's has just published another astonishing international trading data. The country's total export, the measure by U.S. dollars, reached 268 billion U.S. dollars, which is 21.1 percent more than the data reported in the same month of 2019.

This sharp rising comes from two aspects.

First, while been measured in Chinese yuan, the total export in November reached 1.8 trillion yuan or 14.9 percent increase than one year ago. Bearing in mind that the exported goods are produced in China, therefore the local currency is a better measurement of the actual amount of the exported goods. Meanwhile, as the exchange rate of the Chinese yuan has appreciated strongly against the U.S. dollars in recent months, therefore when the total export is measured in U.S. dollars, we can see an even larger percentage of rising.

The reason that China is exporting so many goods does not come from a super-strong global economy that also grows at double digits. In fact, it is because of the weakness of the global economy that China receives so many export orders. Meanwhile, the countries that suffered severely from the COVID-19 pandemic can hardly take similar orders.

The weakness of the global economy can be seen from the weak import data reported by China in November. While the exported goods reached 1.8 trillion yuan, the imported goods only reached 1.29 trillion yuan, or 0.8 percent lower than the same month in 2019.

This resulted in a super large amount of trading surplus for China in November 2020, which is 507 billion yuan, or 92.6 percent more than the number reported a year ago.

Strong demand for Chinese goods amid the global pandemic resulted in a large rally of China's currency. From this May to November, the exchange rate between the U.S. dollars and the yuan plummeted from 7.16 to 6.53. This large rally of the Chinese yuan shows the important special contribution that the Chinese economy is making to the world during the fighting against the virus that is hurting the global economy.

A detailed look at China's trading data shows that the importance of the U.S. economy to China is now decreasing. Meanwhile, the importance of other major economies, such as the ASEAN and the European Union, is increasing.

In the first 11 months of 2020, the total amount of trade between China and the U.S. is 3.65 trillion yuan. The U.S. ranks only third place among China's major trading partners.

The largest trading partner of China is the ASEAN, where the total trading value between the two economies reached 4.24 trillion yuan during the same period. China's second-largest trading partner is the European Union, where the trading value between China and the EU reached 4.05 trillion yuan. Japan and South Korea rank 4th and 5th place among China's trading partners, respectively.

With the detailed trading data of specific industries, we can find more useful information.

Container ships sit moored next to gantry cranes at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in this aerial photograph, Shanghai, China, March 23, 2020. /VCG

Container ships sit moored next to gantry cranes at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in this aerial photograph, Shanghai, China, March 23, 2020. /VCG

For example, in the first 11 months, the textile that China exported to the rest of the world reached 989 billion yuan or 33 percent more than a year ago. While the masks used against the COVID-19 are included in this trading item, it is easy to find that China's factories have made a significant contribution to the world's anti-virus frontline.

Meanwhile, the total amount of mobile phones exported by China is 771 billion yuan, or 0.7 percent lower than the first 11 months of 2019. This, on the one hand, shows that the trading sanctions taken by the U.S. against Huawei have indeed hurt this giant mobile phone producer, while on the other hand, it also shows the resilience of China's mobile phone industry that even with such severe sanction, this industry still exported almost the same value of goods compared with one year ago.

Meanwhile, the total value of automatic data processors that China exported in the first 11 months of 2020 reached 1.3 billion yuan or 10.7 percent more than a year ago. This is very important data as it shows that the exporting items of China are becoming increasingly sophisticated and value-added.

Another industry that has witnessed strong growth with export in the first 11 months is the furniture industry.

The total value of furniture exported in the first 11 months is 365 billion yuan or 11.2 percent more than a year ago. This came due to the strong property market in the U.S., which was stimulated by an eased monetary policy.

On the import side, in the first 11 months of 2020, China imported 504 million tons of crude oil and 90 million tons of natural gas, 9.5 percent and 3.9 percent more than a year ago, respectively. Meanwhile, China imported 265 million tons of coal, or 10.8 percent less than the same period of 2019. This shows China is working progressively toward the reduction of coal consumption with its energy industry.

Overall speaking, the international trade of China is very promising at this moment. This latest set of data shows the trade of China is not only making strong support to the Chinese economy but is also making solid support to the global economy amid a hard time of the global pandemic.

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