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China's exports seen maintaining momentum; import growth cools: Reuters poll

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s foreign trade is expected to have grown quite strongly in October due to a recovery in global markets and the domestic economy, a Reuters poll showed, but there are fears that the coronavirus upsurge overseas could slow trade in coming months.

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai, China October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

In October, exports are expected to have risen 9.3% from a year earlier, according to a median estimate of a Reuters poll of 20 economists, down slightly from the 9.9% gain in September.

Imports likely rose 9.5% on year, which economists regarded as a solid increase though it would be slower than in September, when imports rebounded 13.2%.

China’s trade surplus is expected to have widened to $46 billion in October from $37 billion in September, according to the poll.

The forecasts could suggest the recovery in the world’s second-largest economy from the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic remains intact.

China’s economy is expected to expand around 2% this year - the weakest in over three decades but still much stronger than other major economies as it emerged faster from the coronavirus crisis, having been the first country to be hit by the pandemic.

The upward momentum was also evident in China’s official manufacturing survey for October, as the new export orders sub-index expanded at a quicker pace.

Analysts at Nomura said in a research note that a pause in the re-opening of some overseas economies due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and a high base last year would have weighed on October’s import growth. They also expected less growth in crude oil imports.

Some analysts also noted there were fewer working days last month compared with same period last year due to the long national holiday, which might lead to a slightly softer reading.

And they said China’s trade performance could suffer over the next few months as stringent virus control measures are re-imposed by trade partners due to recent resurgence of COVID-19 infections in Europe and the United States.

Some companies reported that second wave in infections abroad had lengthened procurement periods for imports of raw materials and increased transport costs.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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