According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, exports went up by 32.2% in June (year-on-year), over expectations of 23.1% and the previous month's 27.9%. Imports rose by 36.7% in yearly terms, over expectations of 30% but below May’s 51.1%.
In monthly terms, exports went up by 20.2%, against expectations of 29.6% and May’s 18.1%. Similarly, imports went up by 24.2%, against expectations of 32.3% and May’s 39.5%.
The trade balance stood at $51.5 billion, higher than expectations of $44.2 billion and the previous month’s $45.53 billion.
China's performance has been affected in the past because of the temporary closure of the Shenzhen port, supply bottlenecks and rising costs. However, it seems that the reopening of the world economy has pushed up global demand for Chinese goods.
Despite the positive numbers, China's Customs Administration Spokesperson Li Kuiwen commented that the country's trade still faces a lot of uncertainty, despite foreign trade being expected to improve in the second half of the year. In fact, some analysts expect the numbers to eventually soften as consumption levels return to normal.
"The pandemic-induced surge in retail sales in advanced economies has started to reverse recently as consumption patterns begin to normalize amid reopening," commented an analyst at Capital Economics. "Once retailers in these countries have rebuilt their inventories, softer consumer demand will feed through into weaker foreign demand for Chinese exports.”
The spread of the Delta variant, which is a very transmissible COVID-19 strain, is also concerning, since it could cause governments to reimpose restrictions on economic activity.
China has been relatively successful in containing the advance of the virus, despite being its origin. According to official data, 92,095 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, including 4,636 deaths. Around 223 million people in China are now fully vaccinated, which accounts for more than 40% of the total population.