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

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 $535 billion, one of the highest ever reported

Exports rose 3.6% over 2019 to $2.6 trillion, an improvement over 2019’s 0.5% gain, customs data showed Thursday. Imports edged down 1.1% 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% in December over a year earlier to $281.9 billion. Imports rose 6.5% to $203.7 billion.

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