Chinese exports fall less than expected in December

Cargo ships dock at the container terminal of Lianyungang Port in east China’s Jiangsu Province on Dec. 7, 2022.

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BEIJING — China’s exports and imports fell less than expected in December, the customs administration said Friday.

The milder decline meant that trade rose further throughout 2022.

Chinese exports fell 9.9% in December from a year ago in US dollars, slightly better than the 10% drop predicted by a Reuters poll.

Chinese imports fell 7.5% year-on-year in December in US dollars, which was also better than the 9.8% decline forecast by Reuters.

Strong exports have supported the Chinese economy over the past two years. But economists anticipate a slowdown in demand from the United States and Europe.

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Already, Chinese exports began to decline year-over-year in October – for the first time since May 2020, according to Wind Information.

For 2022 as a whole, China’s exports rose 7.7 percent and imports 1.1 percent, the customs agency said.

Cross-border e-commerce between China and other countries grew 9.8 percent in 2022 from a year ago to 2.11 trillion yuan ($301.42 billion), according to official figures. These direct-to-consumer exports increased by 11.7% year-on-year.

However, that marked a slowdown from 2021, when China’s cross-border e-commerce grew 15% to 1.980 billion yuan ($311.5 billion) and exports jumped 24.5%.

Chinese imports from the EU and US fell in 2022, while those from ASEAN increased slightly.

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