China exports surge in 2021 as global demand picks up


Chinese exports surged in 2021 on solid global demand as countries reopened, official data showed Friday, bumping its overall trade surplus to a record high and providing a much-needed boost to the stuttering economy, but officials warned of headwinds.

The world’s second-biggest economy saw a quick rebound from the coronavirus last year — after cases first surfaced in a central city in late 2019 — allowing factories to operate and feed global appetite for electronics and medical supplies.

That led to a 29.9 percent spike in exports last year, helping push the annual trade surplus to $676 billion, customs data showed.

The surge came on the back of an uptick in shipments of mechanical and electronic products, customs spokesman Li Kuiwen said.

Although China “handed in a dazzling report card” in the face of challenges, Li told reporters Friday that the economy “faces triple pressures of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations”.

Imports increased 30.1 percent last year. In December, exports rose largely in line with expectations — at 20.9 percent — while imports disappointed with 19.5 percent growth.

The December export figures “may reflect the Omicron damage to the global supply chain”, with export orders shifting to China from other countries, said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.

“Currently, the strong exports may be the only driver helping China’s economy,” he added. Analysts at Capital Economics earlier noted there were early signs of supply-side constraints easing last month, while export prices were likely still rising — bumping up the value of shipments. Meanwhile, a fall in commodity prices weighed on import values.

China’s trade surplus with the United States, however, widened 25 percent last year to $396.6 billion. While a deal marking a ceasefire in the bruising trade war between Beijing and Washington expired this month, two years after it was signed, authorities have yet to confirm their next steps.

Former US president Donald Trump had pushed to narrow the US trade gap with China, signing a partial pact to boost Chinese purchases of goods like soybeans. Asked this week if there would be a continuation of the earlier deal or phase two negotiations, China’s commerce ministry said that both sides maintained normal communications.

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Gov’t Revenue Tops Rp 2,000 Trillion in FY 2021


Jakarta. The Indonesian government collected Rp 2,003.1 trillion ($140 billion) in revenue in the fiscal year 2021, signaling a significant rebound in the economy after a major setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

The government spent Rp 2,786.8 trillion last year, resulting in a Rp 783.7 trillion deficit.

The materialized revenue represents 114.9 percent of the target and a 21.6 percent increase on the Rp 1,647 trillion revenue in the fiscal year 2020.

“This is a very strong recovery – amid the ongoing pandemic and the presence of the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variant, the state revenue managed to grow by 21.6 percent,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati was quoted in the Finance Ministry website.

The overall revenue comprises Rp 1,277.5 trillion in tax revenue, which represents 103.9 percent of the target, Rp 269 trillion in duty and excise revenue that is 25 percent more of the target, and Rp 452 trillion in non-tax revenue.

“We also accomplish more than during the pre-Covid era of 2019,” she added. During that year, the government collected Rp 1,957 trillion in revenue.

“Our point is that the budget deficit is now below 5 percent, or 4.65 percent of the GDP to be exact. We also managed to shrink the deficit from 6.14 percent of the GDP a year earlier,” she added.

 The government has stopped issuing domestic bonds since November due to the smaller-than-expected spending.
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