Dhe Chinese exports grew more than twice as fast as expected thanks to the relaxation of corona restrictions in May. They increased by 16.9 percent compared to the same month last year, according to data released by the customs authority on Thursday. Analysts polled by the Reuters news agency had only expected an increase of 8 percent after exports rose by just 3.9 percent in April.
Easing after strict closures
Authorities had eased strict lockdowns in major cities like Shanghai, boosting production there. The electric car manufacturer Tesla, for example, returned to the usual level of production at the end of May after the Shanghai plant had taken a three-week break. Freight throughput in ports and airports also returned to normal values. In Shanghai, for example, 95.3 percent of the normal level was reached at the container port at the end of May.
“Logistics and supply chains were well repaired in May,” said Yingda Securities Research Institute director Zheng Houcheng. Imports also grew for the first time in three months, by 3.9 percent. Still, it points to continued weak domestic demand, Zheng said. This is bad news for the German economy, after all, China is one of its most important sales markets.
Despite major risks such as the Russian war against Ukraine and rising raw material prices, the world export champion should continue to do good business in the coming months, according to experts. “We believe that if there are no more lockdowns, this recovery can continue,” said ING China chief economist Iris Pang.
China’s government recently presented a package of stimulus measures. The central bank, meanwhile, is trying to stimulate housing construction by lowering interest rates on mortgage loans. Beijing is aiming for economic growth of around 5.5 percent this year. That will be difficult to achieve, analysts say, unless the government abandons its zero-Covid strategy of strict lockdowns even during minor outbreaks.