Trade momentum seen as robust in Q4

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This aerial photo taken on Oct. 9, 2023 shows container vessels waiting in line to unload at the Qinzhou Port in Qinzhou, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is optimistic about sustaining its robust trade momentum in the fourth quarter and achieving its annual foreign trade target, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday, on the back of stable trade growth in the first three quarters, particularly a steady pickup in recent months.

Global trade has been lackluster since the start of the year, weighed down by a number of factors, including high inflation, excessive inventories and geopolitical tensions, said Commerce Ministry spokeswoman Shu Jueting at a news conference in Beijing.

Global exports decreased by 4.6 percent in the first half of the year, according to statistics from the World Trade Organization, with declines of 1.3 percent in the first quarter and 7.8 percent in the second. Meanwhile, the WTO halved its growth forecast for global goods trade this year to 0.8 percent, compared with its April estimate of 1.7 percent.

Despite various risks and challenges, the relevant departments have effectively implemented policies to stabilize foreign trade, and the vast majority of businesses have sought innovative approaches to secure orders and extend their market share, Shu said.

The combined efforts mean China's foreign trade has been stable overall. In particular, steady progress has been made in recent months, Shu said, citing WTO figures to show that China's export share of the global market increased by 0.4 percentage points to 14.2 percent in the first half of this year.

Furthermore, in the first three quarters, 597,000 foreign trade firms were engaged in imports and exports, roughly the same number as in the full year 2022.

The proportion of private businesses among these rose by 1.1 percentage points, according to Shu.

The ongoing China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, has attracted a larger number of exhibitors and buyers from across the globe, demonstrating the resilience and vitality of China's foreign trade, Shu said.

"Given the ongoing accumulation of favorable circumstances, we are optimistic that sound performance of foreign trade will continue in the fourth quarter, and that the annual foreign trade goal will be met in ways that will ensure stability and enhance quality," Shu said.

The import and export growth rates are anticipated to pick up in the fourth quarter as a result of the rising restocking demand for the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas season, a favorable base effect, as well as China's policy to ensure stable growth, according to a report released by Peking University's HSBC Business School in early October.

In addition, China's nonfinancial outbound direct investment saw stable growth in the first nine months, rising by 18.7 percent year-on-year to 673.14 billion yuan ($91.96 billion), according to the Commerce Ministry.

The country's nonfinancial investment in countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative grew 27.7 percent year-on-year to 23.48 billion yuan during the period, the data showed.

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