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China’s exports rose slightly in November, breaking a six-month run of consecutive declines and giving a boost to policymakers looking to revive a flagging recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
Exports rose 0.5 per cent year on year in dollar terms, official data showed on Thursday, compared with a forecast of a 1.1 per cent decline in a Reuters poll of analysts. In October, exports dropped 6.4 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.
Imports, meanwhile, fell 0.6 per cent, compared with a forecast of a 3.3 per cent increase and a bump of 3 per cent in October.
China’s weaker international trade is one of the main sources of pressure for policymakers in Beijing, who are also grappling with a liquidity crisis in the property sector and low domestic consumption since it relaxed Covid-19 restrictions at the end of last year.
Beijing has embarked on a charm offensive since the middle of this year, seeking to mend ties with its principal markets in the US and European Union after foreign investors turned sour on the country.
On Thursday, EU leaders including Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, met President Xi Jinping in an attempt to smooth out growing differences over China’s huge trade surplus with the bloc and European opposition to its tacit support for Russia in the war in Ukraine.
China’s exports helped prop up its economy during the three pandemic years when it was shut to the world, but they have struggled in 2023 as high global inflation and rising interest rates damp demand for its goods.
China’s customs administration said the EU was its second-largest trading partner in the first 11 months of the year after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations trading bloc.
Exports to the EU fell 5.8 per cent during the period against a year earlier, while exports to the US, the third-largest trading partner, declined 8.5 per cent.
Additional reporting by Andy Lin and William Langley in Hong Kong
Source: Financial Times