China's Trade Trends April 2022

In the first four months of 2022, China increased its imports from Russia (+38 percent), Indonesia (+34 percent) and Malaysia (+16 percent) and reduced imports from India (-37 percent), Australia (-13 percent) and Italy (-12 percent).


This data was released by Chinese customs authorities on the country's trade for the first third of 2022 on May 9th. This data reflects the impact of the lockdown measures implemented in Shanghai and many other Chinese cities in order to contain the spread of Omicron. In April, the total trade between China and the rest of the world amounted to $494 billion, which is a reduction of 1.7 percent from March 2022, however it still represents an increase of 2.1 percent from April 2021. On a cumulative basis, the total volume of trade was $1.976 billion, which is an increase of 10 percent when compared to the same period of the previous year.


The blockade of domestic mobility and the containment measures have slowed the growth of Chinese trade, this is somewhat mitigated however as China has managed to keep the main logistics hubs and the port of Shanghai open, even in the face of operational difficulties.


Exports in this period reached $1,094 billion, which represents an increase of 12.5 billion compared to 2021. In April 2022 however, the export figure amounted to $274 billion, down from 14.7 percent last month showing the effects of the lockdown.


The Southeast Asia is China's main trading region accounting for $289 billion in trade, which is approximately 15 percent of China's foreign trade, while the European Union and the United States are the main single markets for Chinese exports.


The zero-Covid policy, directed by the central authorities, has imposed restrictive measures on the movement of people and goods, and limited production capacity and logistics. Numerous industrial groups with production plants in the areas involved have suffered blockages to their activities, however starting from the end of April many industrial enterprises have managed to resume work based upon the principles of close-loop management of their employees.


Should the lockdowns be prolonged combined with the conflict in eastern Europe resulting in disruptions to the supply chain may lead to negative consequences for Beijing’s growth targets. The latest international monetary fund projections have reduced China's growth estimates for the year 2022, from 4.8 percent in January to 4.4 percent in April.

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