BEIJING — China’s exports and imports fell less than expected in December, the customs administration said Friday.
The milder slump meant trade still grew for all of 2022.
China’s exports fell by 9.9% in December from a year ago in U.S.-dollar terms, slightly better than the 10% decline forecast by a Reuters’ poll.
China’s imports fell by 7.5% year-on-year in December in U.S.-dollar terms, also better than the 9.8% decline predicted by Reuters.
Strong exports bolstered China’s economy in the last two years. But economists anticipate a slowdown in demand from the U.S. and Europe.
Already, China’s exports started to fall year-on-year in October — for the first time since May 2020, according to Wind Information.
For all of 2022, China’s exports grew by 7.7% and imports by 1.1%, the customs agency said.
Cross-border e-commerce between China and other countries grew by 9.8% in 2022 from a year ago to 2.11 trillion yuan ($301.42 billion), according to official figures. Such direct-to-consumer exports rose by 11.7% year-on-year.
However, that marked a slowdown from 2021, when China’s cross-border e-commerce rose by 15% to 1.98 trillion yuan ($311.5 billion), and exports surged by 24.5%.
China’s imports from the EU and the U.S. fell in 2022, while those from ASEAN grew slightly.