China 2020 exports up despite virus; surplus surges to $535B

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CHINA’S exports rose in 2020 despite pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and a tariff war with Washington, boosting its politically volatile trade surplus to US$535 billion, one of the highest ever reported.

Exports rose 3.6 percent over 2019 to $2.6 trillion, an improvement over 2019’s 0.5 percent gain, customs data showed Thursday. Imports edged down 1.1 percent to just over $2 trillion.

China’s exporters benefited from the relatively early reopening of its economy and demand for masks and other Chinese-made medical supplies. Exporters have taken market share from foreign competitors that still face curbs imposed to fight the pandemic.

Exports surged 18.1 percent in December over a year earlier to $281.9 billion. Imports rose 6.5 percent to $203.7 billion. / AP