September export figures improve, says Beijing
AFP - China's exports improved in September, falling 15.2 percent on-year compared with a 23.4 percent decline in August, customs data showed Wednesday, indicating demand for Chinese goods was picking up.
Exports fell to 115.9 billion dollars in September on-year and imports were down 3.5 percent to 103 billion dollars, customs authorities said.
In the first nine months of 2009, the trade surplus stood at 135.5 billion dollars, down 26 percent compared with the same period a year ago, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement on its website.
Analysts said the slowing decline in exports was a positive sign for the world's third-largest economy.
"Today's export numbers are encouraging and in line with recent PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) survey data showing improved export orders," said Brian Jackson, a Hong Kong-based senior strategist at the Royal Bank of Canada.
"Some of the recent US data also point to stronger demand for China's exports in the months ahead."
Jackson said improving demand for Chinese goods would give the government confidence to start reining in massive stimulus measures next year.
"Chinese growth this year has been heavily reliant on government-directed investment, which is why senior officials have continued to characterise the recovery as not broadly based or firmly established," Jackson said.
"Stronger external demand will provide an alternative source of support for growth and provide scope for Beijing to start tightening policy gradually from early 2010."
Su Chang, an economist at Beijing research firm CEB Monitor Group, said he expected exports in the current quarter to fall by less than 10 percent compared with the 21.3 percent decline posted in the third quarter.
"(The recovery in foreign demand) would be sustainable -- at least it can sustain for several quarters," Su said.
But Su noted that the September trade figures were helped by the fact there were more working days last month than in 2008 due to the timing of the National Day holiday.