China posted stronger-than-expected June trade figures yesterday, bolstered by firm global demand for Chinese goods and robust appetite for construction materials at home, but local curbs on lending could weigh on imports later this year.
Exports rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier, while imports expanded 17.2 percent, both beating analysts' expectations, official data showed.
While exports benefited from solid demand for electronics and industrial goods, a growing trade surplus, particularly with the United States, may add to trade tensions as US President Donald Trump seeks to boost activity in his country's manufacturing sector.
"Looking ahead, we expect export growth to slow on uncertainties in external demand due to rising geopolitical risks and the stronger yuan-US dollar exchange rate in the first half of 2017," Nomura researchers said in a note after the data release.
China posted a trade surplus of US$42.77 billion (HK$333.61 billion) in June, slightly above analyst forecasts for a surplus of US$42.44 billion and wider than May's US$40.81 billion.
Analysts had expected June shipments from the world's largest exporter to have risen 8.7 percent, in line with May's growth. Imports were forecast to have climbed 13.1 percent, easing from the unexpectedly strong 14.8 percent jump in May.
The country's demand for imports has remained robust in recent months. This is thanks mostly to resilient real estate demand in smaller Chinese cities with lax property rules as authorities are keen to clear a housing glut.
China's exports denominated in yuan rose 15 percent in January-June from the same period a year earlier, while imports jumped 25.7 percent during the period.
Chinese exports to Hong Kong in the first half grew 1.3 percent year on year to 845.5 billion yuan (HK$973.53 billion), while imports from Hong Kong fell 62 percent to 24.4 billion yuan.