The interpretation of China’s most recent data on foreign trade is complex but not conflicting. The month of May in effect, shows the highest exports figure ever attained (US$157 billion): on the other hand however, imports reached an even greater record-high. This results in the decrease of the commercial surplus, the value of which in the first five months of the current year, of US$23 billion, is less than previous year’s.
The drop is not sporadic but is confirmed through the analysis of annual results, which is a more reliable means with respect to a more volatile monthly assessment. The active commercial surplus of 2008 had reached the astronomical value of US$300 billion, which decreased to US$198 in 2009 and to US$184 in 2010 and is expected to decrease yet more this year as May’s reports tend to indicate. The combination of various factors played an important part: increase in production costs (salaries specifically), revaluation of RMB, differing inflation rates between China and the rest of the world, price increases of raw materials and decrease of international orders.
These effects are to be seen in a bigger picture, which was modelled by the Government to give the country a diversified growth composition. The intent is to strengthen its internal component, more specifically home consumption, social and infrastructure investments. This is a very ambitious programme which should reduce the country’s dependency on exports.
China is now sufficiently stable to seek other avenues in which to confide. Imports are no longer considered as a strategic requirement but are becoming a vehicle toward the overall improvement of the population’s life-style. For this reason, imports are more important than exports, not only statistically speaking but in the foreseeable long term stability and growth plan.