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News: Chinese commodity import volumes still robust despite fall in value

  1. China’s January trade data is not reason enough for panic given that it does not take into account volumes, particularly for commodity imports.

    While the value of imports have fallen 19.9%, the biggest slid since May 2009, volumes of commodity imports remain healthy.

    As an example, crude oil imports were down just 0.6% to 6.59 million barrels per day in January from the previous corresponding month. It was also above average imports of 6.17MMbbl in 2014.

    In iron ore, imports were 78.57 million tonnes in January, above the average 77.7Mt a month in 2014.

    Imports of unwrought copper were 410,000 tonnes in January, down 2.4% from December and again above the average of 378,400 tonnes a month in 2014.

    This indicates that commodity import volumes are holding up and the fall in value is due to lower commodity prices.

    The takeaway is that while China’s economy is certainly not on the fast train, it is not stumbling either.


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