China’s exports surged in June while import growth slowed to a still-robust level as its economic rebound from the coronavirus levelled off. Exports rose 32.2% from a year earlier to $281.4 billion, up from May’s 28% growth, customs data showed Tuesday. Imports grew 36.7% to $229.9 billion, but that was down from the previous month’s explosive 51% rise.
China led the global recovery from the pandemic but domestic consumer and other economic activity is levelling off. Chinese exporters benefited from the relatively early reopening of the economy while foreign competitors still faced anti-virus shutdowns.
Growth is expected to slow as global activity returns to normal. Exports to the United States rose 17.8% over a year ago to $46.9 billion while imports of American goods grew 37.6% to $14.3 billion despite tariff hikes still in place in a lingering trade war.
China’s global trade surplus swelled 11% over a year earlier to $51.5 billion. The politically sensitive surplus with the United States expanded 10.9% to $32.6 billion.
Chinese economic growth soared to 18.3% over a year earlier in the first three months of 2021 as consumer and business activity revived following last year’s shutdown to fight the virus. That is expected to decline to a still-strong 7% in the three months ending in June and to cool further through next year.