China’s Trade Surplus Positive Sign for Shipping

China recorded a trade surplus of USD 47.3 billion in July 2014. The record high surplus came on the back of very strong export growth while imports contracted. The world’s second largest economy saw its overseas shipments increase by 14.5% in July as compared to same month last year, as reported by international shipping association BIMCO.


overseas shipments increase in July

Exports to the vital markets in the US and Europe both went higher. BIMCO data shows 8.8% growth in inbound loaded containers on the US East Coast during the first six months of 2014 from a year earlier.

For the same period on the US West Coast, BIMCO data shows growth of 5.3%. This is much higher than 2013, where inbound loaded container traffic to the US East Coast grew by 1.9% and to the US West Coast by 2.0%.

Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO, Peter Sand, says: “It is encouraging that both of China’s key trading partners have increased their demand. It’s a very positive sign for shipping that demand is growing briskly, even if the macroeconomic headwinds have not entirely disappeared.”

In its July update of the World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced its forecast for global GDP growth by 0.3% to 3.4%. The weak first quarter in the US was to blame for most of it.

Import data mirrored this weakness in activity. The second quarter on the other hand has been strong in the US – in turn that also meant stronger demand for imported containerized goods from China.

“Europe is still in recovery-mode on the macroeconomic level, but the increase in demand for imported containerized goods proves that private consumption is strengthening. Improvements to global trade, catalysed by the shipping industry, paves the way forward towards higher prosperity and economic growth everywhere,” adds Peter Sand.

Press Release, August 11, 2014; Image: Port of Hamburg

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