BEIJING, Feb 5 (Reuters) - China's January export growth was
likely its strongest in 11 months, though a 17 percent
year-on-year surge forecast in a Reuters poll may owe as much to
trade cycles and Lunar New Year holiday base effects as a
recovery in foreign demand.
The median forecast of 16 economists polled by Reuters would
put export growth at its highest since February 2012 and be in
sharp contrast to January 2012's 0.5 percent annual fall in
exports that signalled the start of China's most volatile year
for trade since the global financial crisis.
A similar effect is anticipated in import data when trade
figures are released - scheduled for Feb. 8 - undermining
confidence that a 23.3 percent median forecast for the
year-on-year pick-up in goods ordered by China is indicative of
either a sustainable jump domestic demand or a restocking of
'We estimate that export and import growth may have jumped
to 17.3 percent and 22.8 percent in January due to a low base in
2012. As a result, we may see a trade surplus of $25.3 billion.
Year-on-year trade growth may stagnate or even turn negative in
February with a sizeable deficit,' analysts at Citi said in a
note to clients.
The view from Citi highlights the volatility inherent in the
data at this time of year, when Lunar New Year holidays in
either January or February badly skew reported numbers. Many
factories shut for at least a week during the holidays and often
Analysts at UBS have an above consensus forecast for January
trade growth of 19 percent and a trade surplus call of $40.8
billion - the highest among 15 responses to the trade balance
question that delivered a median expectation of $22.0 billion.
But UBS believes the strength of the January numbers likely
overstates the strength of the recovery in China, which suffered
its slowest full year of growth in 2012 for 13 years at 7.8
'We think the timing of the Chinese New Year and last year's
base affects all of the readings and the underlying momentum is
likely much less strong,' UBS said in a client note.
A Reuters poll last month showed that China's economic
growth is likely to edge up to 8.1 percent in 2013.
The latest surveys of purchasing managers in China's
manufacturing and services sectors both indicate that the
world's second-largest economy is on a modest recovery track.
The trade sector is a key component of the Chinese growth
engine, with export-oriented factories, foreign funded firms and
joint ventures supporting an estimated 200 million jobs.
(Exports, imports in percentage change y/y; balance in $bln)
Exports Imports Balance
Bank of Communications (Shanghai) 16.7 16.6 32.0
Barclays 16.0 20.0 -
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch 26.5 24.2 37.3
CDB Securities (Beijing) 6.7 23.3 8.5
Changjiang Securities 14.5 23.2 21.0
China Construction Bank (Beijing) 20.0 22.3 30.0
Citi 17.3 22.8 25.3
CITIC Securities 9.5 31.5 26.0
Deutsche Bank 18.0 24.0 19.6
Hwabao Trust 20.0 30.0 20.0
Industrial Bank 18.5 30.0 18.0
Mizuho Securities 26.7 29.7 30.1
Peking First Advisory 14.9 25.0 20.3
Shanghai Securities 13.4 20.6 22.0
Shenyin & Wanguo 8.1 16.1 19.6
UBS 19.0 12.0 40.8
Median 17.0 23.3 22.0
Highest 26.7 31.5 40.8
Lowest 6.7 12.0 8.5
Prior 14.1 6.0 31.6
> For more stories on China's economy,
> China's economic indicator calendar and polls
> All Chinese economic data
(Reporting by China Economics Team; Writing by Nick Edwards;
Editing by Kim Coghill)
Keywords: CHINA ECONOMY/TRADE
(firstname.lastname@example.org)(+86 10 6627 1270)(Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. All rights reserved.
The copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters.