Exports expected to contract around 3.0% in 2023 – UOB

China’s Trade Balance: What Recent Results Mean for the World Economy

The Chinese economy’s trade balance figures for the first two months of 2022 were released recently. The data show that both exports and imports have been declining continuously since the last quarter of 2021. Ho Woei Chen, an economist at UOB Group, has commented on these results, providing insights into what they mean for the world economy.

The Key Takeaways

Ho Woei Chen believes that exports and imports are set for a weaker trend this year due to external demand slowing down and global semiconductor prices being pressured lower. China’s exports rose 29.9% in 2021 and a further 7.0% in 2022. However, following such impressive growth, exports are now predicted to contract by -3.0% this year.

On the other hand, imports are expected to gain about +2.0% in 2023. The Chinese government aims to expand domestic consumption, which might contribute to this outcome. Additionally, the country’s economy is expected to recover this year, which could provide another boost to imports.

Analysis and Implications

The world economy could be impacted by China’s trade balance results in several ways. China’s decreasing exports could mean that other countries around the world will experience a similar trend, aggravating the global trade imbalance problem. This issue has been prevalent in recent years, with pundits warning that it slows global economic growth.

The rise of global supply chain disruptions, particularly in the manufacturing industry, is also of concern. China has been the world’s manufacturing powerhouse in the past decade, and their supply chain disruptions may lead to delays and shortages that could impact the supply and demand of various goods and services globally.

Moreover, slower exports could lead to the Chinese economy slowing down. This outcome might be concerning to other countries heavily reliant on China’s economic growth, such as African and Latin American countries. China’s slowdown could also raise concerns about their debt levels, as a slower economy might make it harder for them to service loans.

On the flip side, China’s step to boost domestic consumption could have positive implications for the world economy. It could potentially address the global trade imbalance issue by providing China with the necessary internal demand to reduce their reliance on exports. This outcome could lead to a cascading effect on other countries and boost economic growth globally.

Additionally, as the world continues to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, a boost in China’s domestic consumption could mean increased production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies, which would be a welcomed outcome for countries still grappling with the pandemic.


The Chinese economy’s trade balance results for the first two months of 2022 demonstrate a downward trend in both exports and imports. Ho Woei Chen’s predictions suggest that this trend is set to continue but could be cushioned by the Chinese government’s efforts to boost domestic consumption and their expected economic recovery this year. However, the implications for the world economy are significant and could potentially lead to long-term structural imbalances. Therefore, policymakers and business leaders worldwide should work towards addressing the issues raised by China’s trade balance figures to ensure sustainable and equitable economic growth.


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