Head of the statistics bureau, Suhariyanto, reported Indonesia posted a trade surplus of US$1.56 in March - Photo by Xinhua Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)Exports from China unexpectedly increased by 0.5 percent year-on-year to US$213.57 billion in June 2020, after a 3.3 percent fall in the previous month, as global demand started to improve after more countries lifted coronavirus-led lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures.

Demand for virus-related medical products, such as face masks and personal protective equipment, has helped China sell more products overseas. In contrast, exports of refined products declined 28.6 percent, those of unwrought aluminum and products were down 30 percent, and steel fell 30.3 percent, customs data showed on Tuesday (07/14).

Meantime, China’ imports in June rose for the first time since the coronavirus crisis paralyzed the economy this year, as demand for commodities surged on the back of government stimulus. China’ imports in June rose 2.7 from a year earlier, confounding market expectations for a 10 percent drop. They had fallen 16.7 percent the previous month.

Beijing has doled out aggressive stimulus to support domestic demand even as a resurgence in coronavirus infections around the world has raised questions about the strength of a rebound in global economic activity.

Indeed, iron ore imports jumped to the highest in 33 months in June, the trade data showed, fuelled by rising shipments from miners and robust demand. Crude oil imports also hit an all-time high amid bargain hunting by Chinese refiners as oil prices collapsed.

China’ imports from the United States (US) rose 11.3 percent in June, reversing a double-digit declining trend seen after the coronavirus outbreak.

“Faced with difficulties presented by the sudden epidemic, we’re still honoring our commitments and implementing the (trade) agreement,” customs spokesman Liu Kuiwen told reporters on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was not thinking about negotiating a Phase Two trade deal with China as relations between Washington and Beijing have been “severely damaged” due to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

China’ trade surplus with the US widened to $29.41 billion in June from $27.89 billion in May, the data showed.

China’ economy is recovering from a sharp 6.8 percent contraction in the first quarter, but the recovery remains fragile as global demand falters due to social restrictions and still rising coronavirus cases. Chinese consumption is also subdued amid job losses and concerns about the second wave of infections.

Worsening US-China relations, shrinking global demand and disruptions in supply chains are also likely to pressure the trade outlook over the long run, Institute of Advanced Research at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics said in a report on Saturday.

The country’ trade surplus for June stood at $46.42 billion, compared with a surplus of $62.93 billion in May, the data showed.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexynantu@theinsiderstories.com