- Published on Tuesday, 12 June 2012 08:05
- Written by Adam English, Associate Editor, Inside Investing Daily
- Hits: 401
A slew of economic indicators from China have been downbeat. Industrial output, retail sales, the list goes on.
China's woes are commonly cited for slumps in commodities as well. The values of base metals, like copper, are routinely defined by momentum in the Chinese economy.
That is why the latest news from Beijing is shocking. Overseas shipments from China are up more than 15% over last year. That's double what the experts predicted.
May was an amazing month on the whole for Chinese exporters. China's exports in May totaled $131.7 billion according to the state-run General Administration of Customs.
That represents a 48.5% gain from a year ago and 18.1% from April.
Exports to the United States were up 23% year-on-year while ASEAN countries -- think Southeast Asia -- exports jumped 28%. Somehow even exports to the European Union ticked up 3%.
When combined with imports, external trade as a whole rose 48.4% year-to-year to $243.9 billion. China is buying and selling significantly more of just about everything through international markets.
The three-month trend in the chart is clearly unsustainable, but it shows that China retains its fundamental strength.
As long as Southeast Asia and the U.S. keep buying, the model that catapulted China from crippling, obscure poverty into the world's biggest market will stay intact.
Export growth is a small part of China's overall GDP calculation, so you will not see it at a glance of commonly cited metrics. However, it is critically important. When exports tanked several years ago, 20 million workers were laid off.
It just goes to show that even while news headlines boldly announce a slump, there is still plenty of healthy business -- and opportunities -- in China. It may be trending down, but it certainly isn't out.