Monday April 17 2017
China Quarterly GDP Growth Weakest In A Year
National Bureau of Statistics l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Chinese economy advanced 1.3 percent, following a 1.7 percent growth in the previous three months and missing market estimates of a 1.6 percent growth. It was the weakest expansion since the March quarter 2016.

Year-on-year, the economy advanced an annual 6.9 percent, compared to a 6.8 percent growth in the previous three quarters while markets expected a 6.8 percent expansion. It was the strongest expansion since the September quarter 2015.

For 2017, the Chinese government expects the economy to grow by around 6.5 percent; compared to a 6.7 percent expansion in 2016, which was the slowest growth in 26 years. 




Monday April 17 2017
China GDP Growth Beats Estimates In Q1
National Bureau of Statistics l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Chinese economy expanded 6.9 percent year-on-year in the March quarter of 2017, compared to a 6.8 percent growth in the fourth quarter 2016 and slightly above market consensus of a 6.8 percent growth. It was the strongest expansion since the September quarter 2015, supported by faster rises in industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment while fiscal spending surged.

From January to March 2017, non-farm fixed asset investment rose 9.2 percent year-on-year to 937.77 billion yuan, following a 8.1 percent rise in January to February and beating market expectations of a 8.8 percent increase. It was the strongest growth since May 2016, as investment from state firms jumped 13.6 percent while investment from the central government fell 7.1 percent. Domestic-funded investment increased 10.0 percent while foreign one went up 0.3 percent. Investment in underway projects jumped 21.7 percent while in new ones it shrank 6.5 percent.

Government spending rose 21 percent compared to the same period a year earlier while revenues went up 14.1 percent.

In March, industrial production increased by 7.6 percent year-on-year, compared to a 6.3 percent rise in January-February 2017 while market expected a 6.3 percent rise. It was the fastest growth since December 2014, as output expanded at a faster pace for: manufacturing (8.0 percent from 6.9 percent in the prior month) and electricity, gas and water production (9.7 percent from 8.4 percent). In contrast, mining production fell (-0.8 percent from -3.6 percent).

Retail sales rose 10.9 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, following a 9.5 percent increase in the previous period and above consensus of a 9.6 percent rise. It was the fastest increase since December 2016, as sales rebounded for automobiles (8.6 percent from -1.0 percent in the prior month). Also, sales went up at a faster pace for: garments (6.4 percent for 6.1 percent), home appliances (12.4 percent from 5.6 percent), office supplies (17.2 percent from 13.4 percent), furniture (13.8 percent for 11.8 percent), telecoms (11.6 percent from 10.7 percent) and building materials (17.8 percent from 12.9 percent). Sales increased less than in a month earlier for: cosmetics (8.7 percent from 10.6 percent), jewellery (7.2 percent from 8.2 percent), personal care (7.1 percent for 9.2 percent); oil, oil products (11.3 percent from 14.0 percent).

Figures released earlier showed exports increased by 16.4 percent year-on-year to USD 180.6 billion in March 2017, rebounding from a 1.3 percent drop in the prior month and much higher than market estimates of a 3.2 percent rise. Considering January to March 2017, outbound shipments rose 8.2 percent from the same period a year earlier. Imports went up 20.3 percent year-on-year to USD 156.68 billion, compared to a 38.1 percent growth in February and above consensus of an 18 percent rise. From January to March 2017, purchases jumped 24 percent from a year earlier.

Considering the first three months of 2017, final consumption accounted for 77.2 percent of the Chinese economy. Meanwhile, investment contributed 18.3 percent of growth and net exports accounted for a 4.5 percent of the GDP.

For 2017, the Chinese government expects the economy to grow by around 6.5 percent; compared to a 6.7 percent expansion in 2016, which was the slowest growth in 26 years. While officials have vowed to push ahead with reforms, the central bank has moved to a tighter monetary policy bias and has hiked short-term interest rate several times so far this year. Regarding investment in property, about a dozen cities have applied tighter restrictions on purchases to curb a speculation.

On a quarterly basis, the economy advanced 1.3 percent in the first quarter 2017, slowing from a 1.7 percent growth in the previous three months and missing market estimates of a 1.6 percent growth. It was the weakest expansion since the March quarter 2016.





Thursday April 13 2017
China Trade Surplus Narrows In March
General Administration of Customs of China | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

China reported trade surplus a USD 23.9 billion in March of 2017, compared to a USD 25.2 billion surplus a year earlier and above market expectations of a USD 10 billion surplus. However, it is the lowest trade surplus in a year.

In March exports increased by 16.4 percent year-on-year to USD 180.6 billion, following a 1.3 percent fall in February while markets expected a 3.2 percent growth.

Imports rose 20.3 percent to USD 156.7 billion, after jumping 38.1 percent in the prior month and above consensus of an 18 percent rise.

In yuan-denominated terms, exports went up 22.3 percent and imports rose 26.3 percent.

In February 2017, China posted a trade deficit of USD 9.15 billlion, the first gap in three years.

Considering the first three months of 2017, exports went up 8.2 percent from the same period a year earlier, boosted by higher shipments of electronics (8.6 percent), high-tech products (8 percent), handheld radiotelephones and parts (13.8 percent) and automatica data processing equipment and components (8.4 percent). In contrast, sales fell for clothing and accessories (-0.1 percent), chinese herbal medicine and Chinese medice (-3.2 percent), mineral fertilizer and fertilizer (-21.6 percent), and  precious metal or precious metal jewelry (-0.1 percent).
 
Exports were higher to Hong Kong (0.9 percent), India (14.2 percent), Japan (4.8 percent), South Korea (17.4 percent), Taiwan (10 percent), ASEAN countries (11.4 percent), the EU countries (7.4 percent), South Africa (16.5 percent), Brazil (35.8 percent), Russia (22.4 percent), Australia (8.7 percent) and New Zealand (6.5 percent). The US were the main export partner, with sales rising 10 percent. 
 
Imports jumped 24 percent, mainly due to higher purchases of electronics (11.3 percent), high-tech products (11.7 percent), integrated circuits (11.8 percent), crude (79 percent), agricultural products (19.4 percent) and iron ore and concentrates (91.3 percent). The European Union was the main import partner (imports rose 15.5 percent), followed by the ASEAN countries (27.1 percent), South Korea (13.2 percent), the US (25.9 percent), Japan (20 percent), Taiwan (16.3 percent) and Australia (74.2 percent).




Wednesday April 12 2017
China Inflation Rate Below Estimates In March
Statistics China l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's consumer prices rose 0.9 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, following a 0.8 percent rise in February but slightly less than market consensus of a 1.0 percent gain. Cost of non-food rose more than in the prior month while cost of food continued to fall.

In March, the politically sensitive food prices declined by 4.4 percent (from -4.3 percent in the prior month) while non-food cost rose 2.3 percent (from 2.2 percent). Cost of consumer goods fell 0.1 percent (from - 0.1 percent) and those of services went up 2.7 percent (from 2.4 percent).

Among food, prices dropped for: pork (-3.2 percent from -0.9 percent in a month earlier), fresh vegetables (-27.9 percent from -26.0 percent), eggs (-11.8 percent from -14.9 percent), milk (-0.2 percent from -0.2 percent) and tobaco (-0.2 percent from -0.2 percent). Meanwhile, prices rose at a faster pace for fresh fruits (3.0 percent from 2.1 percent).

For non-food categories, cost went up more than in the preceding month for: clothing (1.3 percent from 1.2 percent), household goods and services (0.7 percent from 0.5 percent), transport & communication (2.0 percent from 1.7 percent); education, culture & recreation (2.3 percent from 1.8 percent) and healthcare (5.3 percent from 5.1 percent). Prices went up at a slower pace for:  rent, fuel & utilities (2.4 percent from 2.5 percent) and and other goods and services (2.9 percet from 3.1 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices fell 0.3 percent, following a 0.2 percent drop in a month earlier and matching market consensus.

The producer prices index rose 7.6 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, slower than a 7.8 percent rise in February. The figure came in line with market consensus and marking the seventh straight month of increase. Cost went up at slower paces for most categories: means of production (10.1 percent from 10.4 percent in the prior month, namely extraction: 33.7 percent, raw materials: 14.9 percent and processing: 6.5 percent); consumer goods (0.7 percent from 1.1 percent, namely food production: 0.7 percent, clothing: 1.3 percent and daily use goods: 1.4 percent). In contrast, prices of consumer durable declined by 0.4 percent, following a 0.6 percent drop in February.




Thursday March 09 2017
China Inflation Rate Slows To 2-Year Low In February
Statistics China | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China's consumer prices rose 0.8 percent year-on-year in February 2017, compared to a 2.5 percent rise in January while markets expected an 1.7 percent gain. It was the lowest inflation rate since January 2015, as cost of transport and communication rose at a slower pace while food prices fell.

In February, the politically sensitive food prices declined by 4.3 percent (from 2.7 percent in the prior month) while non-food cost rose 2.2 percent (from 2.5 percent). Cost of consumer goods declined 0.1 percent (from 2.2 percent) and those of services went up 2.4 percent (from 3.2 percent).

Among food, prices fell for: pork (-0.9 percent from 7.1 percent in a month earlier), fresh vegetables (-26.0 percent from 1.6 percent), eggs (-14.9 percent from -9.1 percent), milk (-0.2 percent from -0.5 percent) and tobaco (-0.2 percent from -0.2 percent). In addition, prices rose at a slower pace for fresh fruits (2.1 percent from 4.8 percent).

For non-food categories, cost went up less than in the preceding month for: household goods and services (0.5 percent from 0.6 percent), transport & communication (1.7 percent from 2.3 percent); education, culture & recreation (1.8 percent from 3.3 percent) and other goods and services (3.1 percet from 4.8 percent). In contrast, cost rose at a faster pace for: clothing (1.2 percent from 1.1 percent); rent, fuel & utilities (2.5 percent from 2.3 percent) and healthcare (5.1 from 5.0 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices unexpectedly declined by 0.2 percent, following a 1.0 percent rise in a month earlier and missing market consensus of a 0.6 percent rise. It was the first drop since October 2016. 

The producer price index rose 7.8 percent year-on-year in February of 2017, faster than a 6.9 percent rise in January and slightly above markets consensus of a 7.7 percent gain. It was the sixth straight month of increase and the fastest since September 2008, as cost went up for most categories, including: means of production (10.4 percent from 9.1 percent in the prior month), namely extraction (36.1 percent), raw materials (15.5 percent) and processing (6.6 percent); consumer goods (0.8 percent from 0.8 percent), namely food production (1.1 percent), clothing (1.3 percent) and daily use goods (1.5 percent). In contrast, prices of consumer durable declined by 0.6 percent. 


Wednesday March 08 2017
China Posts First Monthly Trade Gap In 3 Years
Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China unexpectedly reported a USD 9.15 billion trade deficit in February of 2017, compared to a USD 28.2 billion surplus a year earlier and missing market expectations of a USD 25.75 billion surplus. It was the first monthly trade gap since February 2014, as imports surged while exports fell.

In February, exports declined by 1.3 percent year-on-year to USD 120.08 billion, following a 7.9 percent rise in January while markets expected a 12.3 percent growth.

Imports jumped 38.1 percent to USD 129.23 billion, after growing 16.7 percent in the prior month and way above consensus of a 20.3 percent rise. It was the fastest increase since early 2012, driven by strong demand for commodities from iron ore to crude oil and coal.

In yuan-denominated terms, exports went up 4.2 percent from a year earlier in February, compared to a 15.9 percent rise in a month earlier. Inbound shipments soared 44.7 percent, following a 25.2 percent rise in January.

In January 2017, China posted a trade surplus of USD 51.35 billlion.

Trade in January and February can be distorted by the week-long Lunar New Year holidays, with business slowing down weeks ahead of time and companies scaling back operations. This year, the holiday fell on January 28th.

Considering the first two months of 2017, total trade in USD went up 13.3 percent from a year earlier. Exports rose 4 percent, boosted by higher shipments of electronics (6.7 percent), high-tech products (9.1 percent), handheld radiotelephones and parts (15.4 percent) and automatica data processing equipment and components (6.5 percent). In contrast, sales fell for clothing and accessories (-10.5 percent) and textile yarn, fabric and products (-7 percent). Exports were higher to Hong Kong (1.5 percent), India (5.3 percent), Japan (2.4 percent), South Korea (16.3 percent), Taiwan (13.1 percent), ASEAN countries (7.5 percent), the EU countries (1.9 percent), South Africa (10.7 percent), Brazil (31.3 percent), Russia (15.5 percent), the US (4.4 percent), Australia (1.7 percent) and New Zealand (2.3 percent). 

Imports jumped 26.4 percent, mainly due to higher purchases of electronics (15.1 percent), high-tech products (16.5 percent), integrated circuits (17.9 percent), crude (70.1 percent), agricultural products (24.3 percent) and iron ore and concentrates (94.6 percent). The European Union was the main import partner (imports rose 19.4 percent), followed by the ASEAN countries (imports up 29.5 percent), South Korea (15.7 percent), the US (32.8 percent), Japan (24.7 percent), Taiwan (21.5 percent) and Australia (77.6 percent). 



Tuesday February 14 2017
China Inflation Rate At 32-Month High Of 2.5% In January
Statistics China l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in China rose 2.5 percent year-on-year in January of 2017, compared to a 2.1 percent rise in December while markets expected a 2.4 percent gain. It was the highest inflation rate since May 2014, driven by a faster increase in cost of food and non-food. Meanwhile, producer prices index rose 6.9 percent from a year earlier, the most since August 2011.

In January, the politically sensitive food prices increased by 2.7 percent (from 2.4 percent in the prior month) while non-food cost rose 2.5 percent (from 2.0 percent). Cost of consumer goods gained 2.2 percent (from 1.8 percent) and those of services went up 3.2 percent (from 2.5 percent).

Among food, prices rose at a faster pace for: pork (7.1 percent from 6.2 percent in a month earlier) and fresh fruits (4.8 percent from 3.2 percent). Cost went up less than in the prior month for: fresh vegetables 1.6 percent from +2.6 percent). In contrast, prices fell for: eggs (-9.1 percent from -4.5 percent), milk (-0.5 percent from -0.2 percent) and tobaco (-0.2 percent from -0.2 percent).

For non-food categories, upward prices pressure came from all components, including: clothing (+1.1 percent from +1.1 percent); rent, fuel & utilities (2.3 percent from 2.1 percent),  household goods and services (0.6 percent from 0.4 percent), transport & communication (2.3 percent from 0.9 percent); education, culture & recreation (3.3 percent from 2.3 percent), healthcare (5.0 from 4.6 percent) and other goods and services (4.8 percent from 4.0 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 1.0 percent, following a 0.2 percent rise in a month earlier and above market consensus of a 0.7 percent gain. It was the third straight month of increase and the highest since February 2016.

The producer prices index rose 6.9 percent year-on-year in January of 2017, following a 5.5 percent rise in December and beating market consensus of a 6.3 percent gain. It was the fifth straight month of increase and the fastest since August 2011, as cost went up for most categories, including: means of production (9.1 percent from 7.2 percent in December), namely extraction (31.0 percent), raw material (12.9 percent) and processing (5.9 percent); consumer goods (0.8 percent from 0.8 percent), namely food productions (1.3 percent), clothing (1.1 percent) and daily use goods (1.5 percent). In contrast, prices of consumer durable declined by 0.6 percent (from -0.8 percent in December). 


Friday February 10 2017
China Trade Surplus Largest In A year
General Administration of Customs | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

China reported a USD 51.35 billion trade surplus in January of 2017, lower than a USD 56.67 billion surplus a year earlier but above market consensus of a USD 47.90 billion surplus. It was the largest trade surplus since January 2016, mainly driven by a 7.9 percent rise in exports while imports surged 16.7 percent.

In January, exports rose 7.9 percent year-on-year to USD 182.81 billion, due to stronger global demand, following a 6.2 percent drop in the prior month and beating expectations of a 3.3 percent rise. Sales to the U.S. went up 9 percent, which could add concerns by the Trump administration about bilateral trade.

Imports increased by 16.7 percent to USD 131.43 billion, compared to a 3.1 percent growth in a month earlier while. Figure came in higher than market estimates of a 10.0 percent increase, mainly due to rising demand for coal, crude oil and iron core.

In yuan-denominated terms, exports jumped 15.9 percent from a year earlier, compared to a 0.6 percent rise in a month earlier. Inbound shipments surged 25.2 percent, following a 10.0 percent rise in December.

In December 2016, the country reported a marginally revised USD 40.71 billion surplus.

Trade in January and February can be distorted by the week-long Lunar New Year holidays, with business slowing down weeks ahead of time and companies scaling back operations. This year, the holiday fell on January 28th.




Friday January 20 2017
China Quarterly GDP Growth Weakest in 3 Quarters
National Bureau of Statistics l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Chinese economy advanced by 1.7 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to a 1.8 percent growth in the previous three months and in line with market estimates. It was the weakest expansion since the March quarter 2016.

Year-on-year, the economy advanced an annual 6.8 percent compared to a 6.7 percent growth in the previous three quarters while markets expected a 6.7 percent expansion. It was the strongest growth since the fourth quarter 2015.

Considering full year of 2016, the economy expanded 6.7 percent in 2016, lower than a 6.9 percent growth in 2015. It was the weakest full-year expansion since 1990 but within the government's target range of 6.5 to 7 percent. 


Friday January 20 2017
China 2016 GDP Growth Weakest in 26 Years
National Bureau of Statistics | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Chinese economy expanded 6.7 percent in 2016, lower than a 6.9 percent growth in 2015. It was the weakest full-year expansion since 1990 but within the government's target range of 6.5 to 7 percent, as investment and consumption growth has softened.

In 2016, services sector/tertiary industry rose 7.8 percent; easing from 8.3 percent in 2015 and accounting for 51.6 percent of GDP, up 1.4 percentage points. Manufacturing and construction/secondary industry grew by 6.1 percent, compared to a 6 percent a year earlier.

Final consumption expenditure accounted for 64.6 percent of GDP, lower than 66.4 percent in the preceding year. Meanwhile, capital formation contributed 42.2 percent while net exports were a 6.8 percent drag on growth.

Investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) grew by 8.1 percent, the least since 1999, following a 10 percent last year. Investment by the state holding enterprises increased by 18.7 percent (vs 10.9 percent in 2015) while those of private investment went up by 3.2 percent (vs 10.1 percent in 2015).

Total retail sales of consumer goods rose 10.4 percent, slower than 10.7 percent in 2015. Sales in urban areas grew by 10.4 percent and those in rural by 10.9 percent. Online retail sales rose 26.2 percent versus 33.3 percent the prior year. Retail sales of physical goods increased of 25.6 percent from 31.6 percent in 2015, accounting for 12.6 percent of the total sales of consumer goods.

Total value of imports and exports in yuan terms decreased by 0.9 percent comapred to 7.0 percent decline in a year earlier, with exports dropping 2.0 percent while imports going up by 0.6 percent. 

In the December quarter, the economy expanded 6.8 percent, compared to a 6.7 percent growth in the previous three quarters while markets expected a 6.7 percent expansion. It was the strongest growth since the fourth quarter 2015, supported by strong consumer spending, higher government  expenditure and robust bank lending. 

On a quarterly basis, the GDP advanced 1.7 percent, compared to a 1.8 percent growth in the previous three months. It was the weakest expansion since the March quarter 2016.

For 2017, China is facing more headwinds from external environment, including from a new US president, who has been threatening tough trade measures against Beijing. However, the International Monetary Fund recently upgraded its growth forecast for the country’s economy for the year to 6.5 percent, 0.3 percentage points higher than their October forecast, on the back of expectations for continued government stimulus.