China-Africa Trade Booms

China-Africa Trade Booms

Sino-African trade is booming even as China’s overall trade growth rates continue to slow because of weak domestic demand and overseas markets.

Trade between China and Africa increased by more than 22 percent year-over-year to $80.5 billion in the first five months of 2012, according to figures from China’s Ministry of Commerce. Imports from Africa were up 25.5 percent to $49.6 billion in the period, and exports, including machinery, electrical goods and textiles, rose 17.5 percent to reach $30.9 billion.

New markets in Africa have been a boost for China in 2012 given that trade with the EU increased by less than 1 percentage point in the first half of the year.

Last year China-Africa trade also increased, up 31 percent year-over-year to $166 billion, driven by China’s efforts to reduce duties on imports, which are dominated by raw materials.

After a jump in May, China’s overall import and export growth rates again slowed in June compared to the same period of 2011.

At the start of the year China’s government said it was planning to increase imports and exports by 10 percent year-over-year in 2012, but a spokesman for the General Administration of Customs said China’s total trade grew just 8 percent in the first half of the year to total nearly $2 trillion, with the U.S. displacing the EU as China’s largest export market.

A report from state researchers said China’s import and export growth rates could further decelerate in the third quarter because of the domestic slowdown and weak external markets, although quantitative easing policy efforts to revive domestic demand could see imports increase again in the final quarter of 2012.

China's GDP growth fell to a three-year low of 7.5 percent in the second quarter, down from 8.1 percent in the first three months of the year.

Contact Mike King at michael@borderline.eu.com.