Top Chinese Trade Balances

China's trade surplus by product or country

China’s trade surplus

Mobile phones and computers represent major factors behind China’s highest trade surpluses by product, while the United States and Hong Kong placed first and second respectively among trade partners with which the People’s Republic posted the highest positive balances.

China’s total trade balance for all products equaled a positive US$430.8 billion in 2017, more than doubling from a $181.8 billion surplus eight years earlier during 2010.

Year over year, China’s recent $430.8-billion trade surplus reflects a -15.5% reduction from a $509.7 billion surplus for 2016.

Top Chinese Trade Balances by Product and Country

Product+

The following 10 leading products generated a surplus subtotal of $488.2 billion for China in its global trade during 2017. Metrics listed below highlight China’s strongest competitive advantages over worldwide trading partners for these specific goods.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$171.6 billion (Up 105.6% since 2010)
  2. Computers, optical readers: $116.2 billion (Up 3.5%)
  3. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $31 billion (Up 0.2%)
  4. Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs: $28.5 billion (Up 218.9%)
  5. Miscellaneous furniture: $25.4 billion (Up 44.4%)
  6. Cases, handbags, wallets: $24.6 billion (Up 43.9%)
  7. Women’s clothing (not knit or crochet): $24 billion (Up 63.2%)
  8. Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys: $23.7 billion (Up 138.8%)
  9. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $21.9 billion (Up 59.1%)
  10. Footwear (rubber or plastic): $21.3 billion (Up 48.2%)

The top product delivering the greatest surplus growth from 2010 to 2017 was lamps, lighting and illuminated signs (up 218.9%). In second place were models, puzzles and miscellaneous toys (up 138.8%) followed by phone system devices including smartphones (up 105.6%).

Product-

The 10 major products below accumulated a deficit subtotal of -$627.6 billion for China in international trade during 2017. China has demonstrated the severest competitive disadvantages in the exports and imports of the following commodities.

  1. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: -US$192.1 billion (Up 49.6% since 2010)
  2. Crude oil: -$160.4 billion (Up 20%)
  3. Iron ores, concentrates: -$75.7 billion (Down -5%)
  4. Cars: -$42.8 billion (Up 60.1%)
  5. Soya beans: -$39.5 billion (Up 58.3%)
  6. Petroleum gases: -$31.2 billion (Up 539.7%)
  7. Copper ores, concentrates: -$26.1 billion (Up 100.4%)
  8. Miscellaneous aircraft, spacecraft (e.g. helicopters, launchers): -$21.8 billion (Up 106.3%)
  9. Cyclic hydrocarbons: -$19.4 billion (Up 107.4%)
  10. Refined copper, unwrought alloys: -$18.6 billion (Down -15.4%)

China’s red ink in global trade expanded at the fastest rate for the following products: petroleum gases (up 539.7%), cyclic hydrocarbons (up 107.4%), miscellaneous aircraft or spacecraft (up 106.3%), copper ores and concentrates (up 100.4%) and cars (up 60.1%).

Country+

In 2017, China generated a surplus subtotal worth $786.9-billion with the following 10 trading partners.

  1. United States: US$276.8 billion (Up 52.9% since 2010)
  2. Hong Kong: $273.6 billion (Up 32.8%)
  3. Netherlands: $56.1 billion (Up 29.8%)
  4. India: $51.6 billion (Up 157.1%)
  5. United Kingdom: $34.7 billion (Up 26.5%)
  6. Mexico: $24.2 billion (Up 120.1%)
  7. Vietnam: $21.7 billion (Up 34.9%)
  8. United Arab Emirates: $16.6 billion (Down -1%)
  9. Pakistan: $16.5 billion (Up 216.5%)
  10. Spain: $15 billion (Up 25.9%)

Surpluses from the following trade partners grew at the fastest pace from 2010 to 2017: Pakistan (up 216.5%), India (up 157.1%), Mexico (up 120.1%) and the United States (up 52.9%).

Country-

China experienced a losing international trade relationship with some countries. All told, the following 10 trade partners created a -$395.2 billion deficit subtotal in 2017 from exchanging exports and imports.

  1. Taiwan: -US$110.9 billion (Up 28.8% since 2010)
  2. South Korea: -$74.7 billion (Up 7.4%)
  3. Australia: -$53.1 billion (Up 56.6%)
  4. Switzerland: -$29.8 billion (Up 112%)
  5. Brazil: -$29.4 billion (Up 115.6%)
  6. Japan: -$28.1 billion (Down -49.5%)
  7. Germany: -$25.7 billion (Up 314.4%)
  8. Angola: -$18.1 billion (Down -13%)
  9. Saudi Arabia: -$13.4 billion (Down -40.2%)
  10. Malaysia: -$12 billion (Down -55.1%)

Swelling 314.4% from 2010 to 2017, China’s deficit with Germany grew the fastest. China’s negative net exports with Brazil rose 115.6% trailed by a 112% expansion Chinese red ink with Switzerland and a 56.6% increase with Australia.
China saw its country-specific deficits shrink with four top trade partners: Malaysia (down -55.1%), Japan (down -49.5%), Saudi Arabia (down -40.2%) and Angola (down -13%).

Leading shrinkage in China’s top per-country deficits was Malaysia (down -55.1%) followed by Japan (down -49.5%).




 

See also China’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, China’s Top 10 Exports, Highest Value Chinese Export Products, China’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Chinese Import Products, Richest Countries by Products Trade Balances and Richest Countries by Services Trade Balances

Research Sources:
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 21, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 21, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: World, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 21, 2018

Wikipedia, Economy of China. Accessed on April 21, 2018