Aerial view of Taicang port container terminal in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China, Oct. 4, 2021 Barcroft Media
According to Wednesday's data from the customs agency, China showed a disappointing increase in its imports in September. However, exports exceeded expectations. The value of imports in U.S. dollars increased 17.6% to $240 billion last month, compared to a year earlier. This is less than the 20% estimate by Reuters analysts. China's exports of goods to other countries were a bright spot in the economy. In U.S. dollars, exports jumped 28.1% in September to $305.74 Billion. This was higher than the expected 21% growth rate according to the Reuters poll.
China's trade surplus rose to $42 billion, a record monthly figure. This is a 30% increase in exports over a year ago. Imports increased by just 17%. China's single largest trade partner was the U.S. The U.S. remains China's largest trade partner on a single-country basis, with a 30% decrease in soybean imports in September compared to a year ago. However, the value in U.S. dollars terms increased by approximately 10%.
Coal prices are rising
China's coal imports and related products increased 76% in September from a year earlier to 32.9 Million Tons, the highest monthly level since December. These coal imports amounted to $3.91 billion, more than three times the value of the previous year. According to the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange, prices for thermal coal, which is the primary fuel for electricity production have more than doubled in the past year. Due to a shortage of coal, factories have been forced to shut down. Authorities are now calling for increased coal imports from Russia. Chinese natural gas imports increased 21.8% in September to 10.6 Million Tons, an increase that was more than twice the annual average to $5.19 Billion.