BEIJING: China's trade surplus swelled to a record USD877.6 billion last year as exports rose 7per cent despite weakening US and European demand and anti-virus controls that temporarily shut down Shanghai and other industrial centres.
Exports increased to USD 3.95 trillion, decelerating from 2021's explosive 29.9 per cent gain, customs data showed Friday.
Imports edged up 1.1 per cent to 2.7 trillion, cooling from the previous year's 30.1per cent rise as growth in the world's second-largest economy slowed.
The country's politically volatile global trade surplus expanded by 29.7 per cent from 2021's record, already the highest ever for any economy.
"China's foreign trade and exports showed strong resilience in the face of many difficulties and challenges," said a customs agency spokesperson, Lu Daliang, at a news conference.
Export growth slumped late in the year after the Federal Reserve and other central banks raised interest rates to cool economic activity and record-setting inflation.
December exports fell for a third month, contracting 10.1 per cent from a year earlier to USD 306.1 billion. Imports shrank 7.3 per cent to USD 228.1 billion.
2022 exports to the United States edged up 1per cent over 2021 to USD 581.8 billion despite tariff hikes by President Joe Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, that still are in place on many goods. Chinese imports of American goods declined 1 per cent to USD 177.6 billion.
China's annual trade surplus with the United States, one of the irritants that prompted Trump to hike tariffs, widened by 1.8 per cent from the previous year to USD 404.1 billion.
Forecasters expect Shanghai to weaken further as the risk of recession in Western economies rises. Some expect this year's exports to shrink.
"China's exports are likely to contract until the middle of the year," said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report this week.
Earlier in 2022 trade also was hampered by anti-virus controls that shut down Shanghai and other industrial centres in March for up to two months, disrupting manufacturing and global shipping.
In December, exports to the United States fell 19.5 per cent from a year earlier to USD 301.1 billion.
Imports of American goods shrank 7.3 per cent to USD 228.1 billion. That produced a USD78 billion surplus, down 17.5 per cent from a year earlier.
Exports to the 27-nation European Union tumbled 39.5 per cent to USD 43.6 billion. Imports of European goods fell 31.3 per cent to USD 24 billion. China's trade surplus with Europe fell 50per cent to USD 19.6 billion.