China’s Exports Unexpectedly Grow For First Time In Months

China’s export sector grew in November for the first time in six months, surprising international experts and suggesting that its economy may have found its footing.

There is still support among communist officials in Beijing for propping up output to ensure growth. Some questioned, however, whether pessimistic survey results overshadowed an underlying strengthening of the Chinese economy.

Customs data published Thursday showed exports grew in U.S. dollar terms 0.5% from last year’s tally. This followed a sharp 6.4% decline just a month earlier and bested predictions for a 1.1% drop for the period.

Meanwhile, imports in U.S. dollar terms declined by 0.6%, contradicting the Reuters forecast for a 3.3% increase from the same month in 2022.

The overall financial numbers for 2023 are still sharply negative despite November’s unexpected news. China so far has suffered declines of 5% to 6% in the country’s exports and imports through the year’s first eleven months.

Some experts believe the bump in exports is attributable to the overall strategy of slashing prices to produce more volume.

Bruce Pang is the chief economist and research head for Greater China at PPL. He told CNBC that “external demand is still relatively weak, and holiday orders are lower than expected.”

Pang added that obstacles remain involving both domestic and foreign demand.

Exports to the U.S. remain strong, as the outlet reported an increase of 7% in November over a year ago. The same cannot be said for Chinese goods sent to the E.U., which plunged 14.5% compared to 2022.

Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also took a sizable hit. Analysis showed the total of goods dropped 7%.

Overall export numbers were hurt by a decline in foreign shipments of clothing, shoes and furniture. But electronics and toys inched higher, and the recent trend of strong auto exports continued with another double-digit rise.

China’s export economy is being hurt by the global economic growth slowdown. With wars in Ukraine and Gaza along with nations still reeling from recent bouts with inflation, demand for many goods continues to struggle.