Trade between China and the CPLP is recovering after starting the year in decline

7 September 2009

Macau, China, 07 Sep – After reaching an all-time high in 2008, commercial trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries fell during the first half of the year, but in recent months has shown signs of recovery.

According to statistics from China’s Customs Services to which macauhub has had access, between January and June trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries fell 35 percent compared with the first half of 2008 to US$23.52 billion, with Angola and Brazil recording the biggest falls and East Timor and Guinea Bissau the biggest increases.

Between the last quarter of last year and the first of 2009 the international economic and financial crisis had a very negative impact upon the price of raw materials, which are the basis of Chinese trade with Angola and Brazil, the two most important markets among the “eight” for the Asian giant.

With growth above 66 percent, trade in 2008 stood at over US$77 billion, and already this year China has become Brazil’s biggest trading Partner, overtaking the United States.

Thanks to record prices for energy raw materials, such as petroleum, or agricultural materials like soya on the commodities markets throughout 2008, the main boost to Sino-Lusophone trade came from Angola and Brazil, ensuring the early achievement of the target set for 2009 – US$50 billion.

The Chinese Customs Services indicate that, up to June, the biggest fall among the various trading countries was recorded in Angolan exports to the Asian giant: down 63.9 percent, to US$4.4 billion.

Chinese exports to Angola rose 17 percent to US$1.37 billion, with the fall in bilateral trade reaching 56.8 percent to stand at US$5.77 billion.

For Brazil, trade was down 23.3 percent to US$16.52 billion, with exports to China falling 40.1 percent and imports 12.5 percent, to US$11.45 billion.

Trade with Portugal was also down, though rather less so at 9.1 percent to US$1.04 billion dollars, with imports from China up 21.7 percent and exports falling 14 percent.

In relation to all other, smaller markets, the change was positive, and in some cases there was a significant expansion of trade.

East Timor, for example, reported trade up by 119.6 percent in the first half of the year to US$6.43 million, with exports to China up 119.5 percent.

Trade with Guinea Bissau rose 43.4 percent, mostly due to Chinese exports, while Cape Verde posted a rise of 29.8 percent in the first six months of the year.

There were smaller rises in trade with Sao Tome and Principe (2.1 percent) and Mozambique (6.2 percent).

The Mozambican market continues to be the fourth most important for China among Portuguese-speaking countries, with trade estimated at US$169.9 million and Chinese exports rising by over 30 percent.

Total Sino–Lusophone trade for the first half of the year represents a reduction of US$12.58 billion compared to the same period in 2008 (US$36.10 billion). In total, Chinese imports reached US$16.08billion, down 37 percent, and exports US$7.44 billion, down 31 percent.

The customs statistics reveal that in June both imports and exports were clearly recovering.

The value for June – US$5.60 billion – represents an increase of US$807 million or 17 percent on the previous month (US$4.79 billion).

Imports rose 20 percent compared to May, while Chinese exports to Portuguese-speaking countries rose 9 percent.

Between 2003 and 2006, trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries more than tripled to a total of US$34 billion at the end of 2006.

In 2007, the increase was 46.9 percent, and last year rose to 66 percent. (macauhub)