China’s trade surplus registered a record value of 877.6 billion dollars (809.5 billion euros) in 2022, thanks to a 7% rise in exports, despite the impacts of confinements.
Exports increased to US$3.95 billion (€3.64 billion), according to data released today by the Chinese General Administration of Customs.
However, the 7% growth was well below the 29.9% rate recorded in 2021, with weakening demand in the United States and Europe.
Also imports, which rose 30.1% in 2021, rose just 1.1% last year as growth in China, the world’s second-largest economy, slowed.
China’s trade surplus increased by 29.7% from the previous record, set in 2021, which was already the highest surplus ever for any country in the world.
“China’s foreign trade and exports have shown strong resilience in the face of many difficulties and challenges,” General Administration of Customs spokesman Lu Daliang said at a press conference.
Export growth slowed towards the end of the year after the US Federal Reserve and other central banks raised interest rates to control inflation.
Chinese exports fell in December, for the third consecutive month, contracting 10.1% year-on-year, to US$306.1 billion (282.4 billion euros). Imports shrank by 7.3% to 228.1 billion dollars (210.4 billion euros).
Chinese exports to the United States grew 1% compared to 2021, to 581.8 billion dollars (536.7 million euros), despite tariff increases by former US President Donald Trump, many of which are still in effect.
China’s annual trade surplus with the United States, one of the reasons that led Trump to increase tariffs, rose 1.8% in 2022, to 404.1 billion dollars (372.7 billion euros).
Analysts expect Chinese export growth to slow further as the risk of recession in western economies increases.
“China’s exports are likely to contract through mid-year” 2023, analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard of consultancy Capital Economics said in a report released this week.
In early 2022, trade was also hampered by anti-COVID-19 measures that closed Shanghai and other industrial centers in March for two months, disrupting industrial production and global transport of goods.
Exports to the 27 countries of the European Union fell 39.5% in 2022, to 43.6 billion dollars (40.2 billion euros). China’s trade surplus with Europe fell by 50% to US$19.6 billion (€18.1 billion).