Author Topic: China overtakes US to become world's biggest goods trader  (Read 275 times)

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Offline EC

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China overtakes US to become world's biggest goods trader
« on: January 10, 2014, 03:29:47 AM »
Via the Guardian:

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of events across the financial markets, the global economy, the eurozone, and the business world.

We start with the news that China has overtaken the US to become the world's biggest trading nation, according to figures released in Beijing earlier today.

China's annual trade in goods passed the $4trn (£2.4trn) mark for the first time in 2013, up 7.6% after another year of rising imports and exports. And with America having traded $3.57tn in the first 11 months of last year, it means China is extremely confident it has claimed the crown.

Zheng Yuesheng, spokesman for China's Customs administration, declared:

    It is very likely that China overtook the US to become the world's largest trading country in goods in 2013 for the first time.


    This is a landmark milestone for our nation’s foreign trade development.

China overtook the US despite its economic growth slowing last year, and in the face of Europe's economic woes and some turbulence in emerging markets.

Some reports have suggested China had taken the top spot a year earlier -- but Yuesheng says this is the first data that proves it.

Is it the first time ever, though? Possibly not -- the Financial Times delves back into the archives:

    Some historians argue China was the world’s largest trading nation during the Qing dynasty (which lasted from 1644-1912) despite the ambivalence of Chinese emperors toward foreign trade.

Either way, definitely a moment in China's economic history.

China's biggest trading partner was the EU, followed by America, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Hong Kong and Japan.

Today's data also showed that exports were up just 4.3% year-on-year in December, while imports rose 8.3%. Analysts suggested a clampdown on dodgy speculative trading disguised as exports was to blame.

This meant that China's trade surplus in December fell 17.4% to $25.64bn (£15.5bn), smaller than expected. But seen positively, it could suggest the country is rebalancing away from exports and towards more consumption (I'll post some analyst reaction shortly)
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