City’s exports up in May despite pandemic

Writer: Han Ximin, Wu Jianping  |  Editor: Holly Wang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-06-29

A ferry loaded with containers is seen at Yantian Port. File photo

Shenzhen's exports in May increased by 14.3 percent year on year to reach 149.9 billion yuan (US$21.4 billion) despite the backdrop of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to Shenzhen Customs yesterday.

Increasing exports of medical materials were the main reason behind the growth, official statistics released by the customs yesterday showed.

Also in May, the city’s imports grew by 6.9 percent to hit 105.4 billion yuan year on year and the total trade volume was up 11.2 percent to 255.4 billion yuan.

Trade in May kept upward momentum from April, indicating further recovery with the resumption of work and production in the electronics industry that has stimulated exports of related products.

In the first five months, the city’s general trade kept positive growth and acceleration for three straight months. The general trade hit 548.36 billion yuan.

Between January and May, Shenzhen’s trade with ASEAN countries increased by 14.2 percent, thanks to the import increase in fruits and electronic components.

The import and export trade of local private enterprises increased by 3.4 percent to 662.8 billion yuan in the first five months. In May alone, the figure increased 21.9 percent, 7 percentage points higher than the growth in April.

Imports of electronic components and people’s daily commodities increased sharply, the statistics showed.

Meanwhile, China’s exports declined in May, with experts predicting that shipments would continue to decline in coming months until the virus is brought under control and the global economy gets back on its feet.

Overseas shipments fell by 3.3 percent in the month compared with a year earlier, following a surprise growth of 3.5 percent in April.

The better-than-expected figure was due largely to continued strong exports of medical equipment and supplies used in fighting the coronavirus.

Exports of medical equipment and instruments rose 89 percent in May from a year earlier, and shipments of textiles, yarns and fabrics (including masks) rose 77 percent, while exports of plastics (including medical protection equipment) increased 54 per-cent, noted Shen Jianguang, chief economist of JD Digits, the fintech arm of e-commerce firm

The outlook for Chinese exports in June and the second half of the year will depend on the development of the pandemic and the speed of the global economic recovery, Shen said.

The demand recovery will lag that of supply, so Chinese exports will face greater pressure in the coming months.

May’s export dip was telegraphed by persistently low sentiment among exporters that showed up in official and private surveys of factory owners.

The new export orders component of the official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was 35.3 for May, following a 33.5 reading in April. A number below 50 signifies contraction, the further below 50, the worse the mood among producers.