China’s Q1 2024 Trade Surplus Exceeds Expectations Amid Rising Exports


  • China’s trade surplus exceeded expectations in early 2024, showing robust export demand.
  • The Asian giant recorded a surplus of $125.16 billion for the first two months.
  • Consumer spending driven by holiday celebrations bolstered imports.
  • Uncertainty remains for the rest of 2024 despite signs of economic improvement.

China’s Trade Surplus

According to recent data, in the initial two months of 2024, China’s trade surplus demonstrated unexpected growth. This expansion is partially attributed to persistent export demand. Concurrently, increased spending during festive periods also buoyed imports.

Surplus Details

For January and February 2024, official data revealed a trade surplus of $125.16 billion. This figure outpaced the anticipated surplus of $110.30 billion, showcasing a significant increase from December’s $75.34 billion.

Export Growth

Year-on-year export growth during the same period stood at a considerable 7.1%, well above the projection of 1.9%. This suggests that foreign demand for Chinese products remained resilient, notwithstanding worsening economic conditions in China’s chief export destinations, primarily Asian and European countries.

Local Demand Increase

Domestic demand also experienced an upswing, principally driven by elevated consumer expenditure during the Lunar New Year holidays and year-end festivities. Year-on-year growth in January and February reached 3.5%, markedly surpassing the forecasted increase of 1.5% and considerably up from December’s 0.2%.

Economic Conditions

As the world’s second-largest economy, China demonstrated signs of economic revival despite grappling with decelerated growth. Pervasive challenges such as a property market crisis, dwindling business activity, and continued deflation have been significantly burdensome for the economy.

Outlook for 2024

While the early part of 2024 showed signs of improvement, it remains uncertain whether this positive trend will persist throughout the year. Recently, Beijing set an uninspiring economic growth target for 2024 at 5%, identical to the previous year’s figures.


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