Chinese Import Volumes Fall, Crude Import Surge is Over

The headline story is Chinese imports and exports tumble mostly due to plunging commodity prices. This is not untrue, but a look behind the numbers shows volumes fell as well.

First, here's the trade data broken out important regions and countries.

Here's the breakdown of some of China's main imports. Left hand side shows the volume, amount ¥100 M, and average price per ton or unit. Right hand shows the year-on-year change of all three. I highlighted the quantities in red.
Remember how China was buying oil like crazy in December? That apparently stopped in January. Crude oil imports were down 0.6% from last year by tonnage, but down 41.8% in value thanks to plunging prices. No wonder the Saudis slashed prices for Asian buyers.

The drop in copper imports by tonnage was 22.7%, and the yuan value fell 31.1%, i.e. 2/3 falling imports, 1/3 falling prices. Aluminum imports fell 50%. Auto imports fell 10% even though tariffs started coming down. Coal imports by tonnage fell 53.2%.

As I've pointed out a few times here, the data really deteriorated in the past few months, but anyone watching the headline figures with front-loaded growth in 2014 will be surprised by the slowdown that comes at the start of 2015. The curtain is about to be pulled back, and the bulls are not going to like what they see.

Source: 2015年1月我国外贸进出口同比下降 量减价跌是主要因素

Update: On the export side, China is Puking Steel

No comments:

Post a Comment