China’s September Trade Figures Question Recovery

The prospect of the United States’ central bank starting to wind down its extraordinary stimulus measures has cast its shadow over China’s September trade figures. Against expectations, exports in the month fell at tad, 0.3% from a year earlier, and those to SoutheastAsia fell to a 17-month low. Capital outflows from some of the emerging economies in the region in anticipation of the U.S. Federal Reserve ‘tapering’ looks to have depressed demand. One data point does not a trend make, but with the uncertainty continuing over when the U.S. Fed will cut its bond-buying program, China’s exports may remain weak for a month or two. A run of recent economic indicators had suggested that the slowdown in growth of the past year or so had bottomed out. We shall get an inkling of whether exports are sufficiently weak to put that stabilisation at risk from the third quarter GDP figures due next month.

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