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Economy in Brief

China's Trade Surplus Growing:  Not Only is the Surplus with the United States Rising, but the Deficit with All Other Countries Is Declining Sharply
by Louise Curley August 15, 2005

China's exports of merchandise declined in July by $3,802 million from June, but since imports declined by $4,435 million, the trade surplus increased $633 million to $10,445 million from $9,812 million in June. The growth of the China's trade surplus over the past few years is evident in the first chart. Most of the surplus is with the United States. Countries other than the United States have, as a whole, run a trade deficit with China as can be seen in the table below.

Only total trade figures are available for July. The latest data on trade by country are for June. In the table below, we show China's total exports, exports to the United States and all other countries, total imports and imports from the United States and all other countries, and the total balance of trade and the balances for the United States and all other countries. While the surplus with the United States is still increasing in the first half of this year, there appears to be a sharp deceleration in the deficit with countries other than the U. S. In 2004 the deficit with these countries was $47,452 million, but in the first half of this year the deficit was only $3,645 million. There has been a decline in exports to these countries but a much greater decline in imports from them has reduced their deficit with China. The second and third charts show exports to and imports from Europe and Japan. The trends in the first half of this year shown in these charts are typical of most of the countries for which data are available.

China's Merchandise Trade (Million US$)  2005 1st H 2004  2003 2002 2001 2000
  Total 365,996 593,633 438,398 325,596 266,108 249,202
  US 78,152 124,973 92,512 69,959 54,319 52,142
  Rest of the world 287,844 468,660 345,886 255,637 211,789 197,060
  Total 315,594 560,765 412,840 295,170 243,554 225,092
  US 24,105 44,653 33,883 27,228 26,204 22,365
  Rest of the world 291,489 516,112 278,957 267,942 217,350 202,727
  Total 50,402 32,868 25,558 30,426 22,554 24,110
  US 54,047 80,320 58,629 42,731 28,115 29,777
  Rest of the world -3.645 -47,452 -33,071 -12,305 -5,561 -5,667
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