Buoyant exports helped drive an impressive rebound in China's key manufacturing sector a year ago, with the world's second-biggest economy picking up the slack as the pandemic crunched production in many countries.
Factories exported 224 billion of masks from March through December, equal to nearly 40 masks for every person in the world outside of China, Li Kuiwen, an official from the General Administration of Customs, told reporters Thursday.
Crushers bought Brazilian soybeans early in 2020, and turned to US cargoes in the fourth quarter when American beans hit the market, and as Beijing stepped up purchases of USA farm produce to meet the terms of China's trade deal with the United States. That compared with a 21.1% increase in November and the median forecast of a 12.9% rise by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
"The trade balance jumped to a record $78.17 B and $535 B for the full year, a jump of 57% from 2019".
Textile exports including masks ― which surged in demand globally during the pandemic ― rose 30.4 per cent in yuan terms, he added.
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"China's exports grew in 2020, taking market share from other export-oriented economies". Exports, meanwhile, rose to an all-time high.
The amount is just $7 billion shy of 2018 levels, when Trump launched a blistering trade war to right what he called a lopsided relationship with the world's second largest economy.
Going forward, analysts say sustained demand for medical supplies and work-from-home products from coronavirus-hit trading partners should support Chinese exports. "The resilience of China not only benefited itself but also benefited the global economy", said JP Morgan economist Zhu Haibin. The onshore yuan strengthened 6.7 per cent in 2020 - its first annual rise in three years. Analysts in the poll had expected the trade surplus to narrow to $US72.35 billion from $US75.40 billion in November.
In addition, China has recently reached trade agreements including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, and the EU-China investment deal, which will also help boost trade flows, Xin said. But the annual figures matched expectations, Xie said, as demand was good while China brought in more US cargoes.