According to China Customs Statistics, China’s foreign trade volume stood at RMB20.29 trillion, an increase of 16.6% year-on-year (similarly hereinafter). Exports increased by 12.4% to RMB11.16 trillion and imports increased by 22.3% to RMB9.13 trillion. Hence the trade surplus shrank by 17.7% to RMB2.03 trillion. In September, China’s foreign trade totaled RMB2.46 trillion with an increase of 13.6%. Exports rose by 9% to RMB1.33 trillion. Imports increased by 19.5% to RMB1.13 trillion. The trade surplus therefore narrowed to RMB193 billion, down by 28 %. The details are as follows:
1. Both the volume and the proportion of general trade have increased. In the first three quarters, China’s normal trade rose by 18.1% to RMB11.49 trillion, taking up 56.6% of China’s total foreign trade, 0.7 percentage points higher than 2016, which reflected an improved structure of trade modes.
2. Imports and Exports to traditional markets have witnessed a full recovery and to countries along the “Belt and Road” have registered a rapid growth. In the first three quarters, China’s exports to the EU, the US and Japan increased by 16.4%, 18.7% and 14.9% respectively, together accounting for 36.8% of China’s total import and export value. Over the same period, China’s import and export to Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan increased by 27.7%, 24.8% and 41.1% respectively.
3. Both the volume and the proportion of private enterprises have increased. In the first three quarters, the imports and exports of private enterprises grew by 17.8% to RMB7.81 trillion, accounting for 38.5% of the total national figure, 0.4 percentage points higher than that of the previous year. Exports by private enterprises increased by 14.7% to RMB5.23 trillion, accounting for 46.8% of the total export value, with the proportion up by 0.9 percentage points. The status of the largest export operator was further consolidated. Imports by private enterprises grew by 24.8% to 2.58 trillion.
4. The imports and exports of Central and Western areas and Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang have grown faster than the national figure. In the first three quarters, the overall growth of foreign trade of eighteen provinces and cities in Central and Western China reached 24.7%, 8.1 percentage points higher than the national figure. The overall growth of foreign trade of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang hit 18.5%, 1.9 percentage points higher than the national figure. The overall growth of foreign trade in the ten provinces and cities in East China was 15.3%. The regional development is more coordinated.
5. Electro-mechanical products and traditional labor-intensive products remained the major exported goods. In the first three quarters of this year, exports of electro-mechanical products increased by 13% to RMB6.41 trillion, taking up 57.5% of the total export value. Exports of automobiles, ships and mobile phones increased by 28.5%, 12.2% and 10% respectively. Over the same period, exports of traditional labor-intensive products increased by 9.4% to RMB2.31 trillion, accounting for 20.7% of the total export value.
6. The import volume and prices of major bulk commodities such as iron ore, crude oil and natural gas have increased. In the first three quarters of this year, the import of iron ore, crude oil, soybean, natural gas and refined oil hit 817 million tons, 318 million tons, 71.45 million tons, 48.38 million tons and 22.41 million tons, which increased by 7.1%, 12.2%, 15.5%, 22.3% and 4.2% respectively. The import of copper reached 3.44 million tons, which decreased by 9.4%. Over the same period, China’s import prices witnessed an overall growth of 10.6%, where the average import prices of iron ore, crude oil, soybean, natural gas, refined oil and copper increased by 38.4%, 33%, 9.7%, 13.9%, 27.5% and 29.2% respectively.
7. China’s Export Leading Index dropped slightly and China’s Export Managers’ Index rose. China’s Export Leading Index was 41.8 in September, 0.1 points lower than that of the previous month. Data from an online survey showed that China’s Export Managers’ Index in September was 43.9, 0.8 points lower than that of the previous month. Export Manager Confidence Index was 51.1, up by 0.2 points. The New Export Order Index and the Export Enterprises’ Comprehensive Cost Index dropped by 0.7 points and 2.7 points to 47.1 and 19.9 respectively.
Overall, in the first three quarters of this year, China’s import and export remained sound and steady and witnessed positive changes, with an improvement in quality and effectiveness. In the forth quarter, unstable and uncertain factors will still affect the foreign trade environment, but new growth drivers are taking the place of the old ones and steady progress is being made in the structural adjustment. China Customs will put into practice guiding principles from Xi Jinping’s major policy addresses as well as new ideas, thoughts and strategies regarding governance by the CPC Central Committee, focus on the policies and measures mapped out by the annual Government Report, adhere to the general work guidelines of making progress while maintaining stability, and make a solid progress in implementing the policies and measures for a steady foreign trade growth so that the foreign trade will enjoy a stable performance with good momentum for growth.
（The English version is only for reference. In the event of any discrepancy between the Chinese and English versions, the Chinese version shall prevail.）
General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China
Address: No.6. Jianguomennei Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China Postcode: 100730