China’s Exports Fall Again, Imperiling Its Economic Recovery

The News

China’s trade numbers dropped in July, according to government data released Tuesday, a sign that the country’s economic rebound was lagging despite efforts by officials in Beijing to revive growth.

Exports from China, which has the world’s second-largest economy after the United States, have now declined for three months in a row while imports have fallen for five consecutive months. The numbers reflect declining demand for Chinese-made products, falling domestic demand, a real estate crisis and geopolitical tensions, including the war in Ukraine.

Source: General Administration of Customs

By The New York Times

The Numbers

China’s exports dropped 14.5 percent in July from the same point last year, the biggest decline since February 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic sent the world into lockdown and tangled global supply chains. Its imports fell by 12.3 percent during the same period.

Exports to the United States declined 18.6 percent compared with the same period last year, while shipments to the European Union fell 5 percent. Exports to Russia increased more than 70 percent.

Mexico and Canada surpassed China this year as the United States’ top trading partners.

Why It Matters

Officials in Beijing have been trying to foster a rebound from an economic slump after nearly three years of pandemic restrictions. After China ended its lockdowns last December, many expected the economy to bounce back, but recovery has been halting.

A real estate crisis and weak spending by consumers have put pressure on Beijing to increase exports to help stabilize the economy. But the trade numbers released on Tuesday suggest weak demand may exacerbate a global slowdown.

J. Edward Moreno is the 2023 David Carr fellow at The Times. More about J. Edward Moreno

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