December trade statistics out of China gave the markets reason to celebrate…at least for now.
Chinese-released statistics indicate that exporting increased by slightly more than 14%, noting a bump in demand from the United States and, surprisingly, the beleaguered European Union. Meanwhile, importing activity rose as well, by 6%, indicating a bump in consumption within China. The latter category’s absence in November was cause of much concern among exporters and market-watchers. The 2012 overall surplus tracked at $231 billion, with the December surplus exceeding $31 billion.
News of the activity surge was seen as positive among investors – as U.S. markets showed significant gains on Thursday. However, the December rebound has not convinced many experts that China’s stability is here to stay. Because of its dependence on consumption in economies that are far from ticking at total potential in the West, problems can still befall the emerging Asian economic empire. January’s numbers – without the annual retail bump caused especially in the U.S. by the holiday gift-giving season – could prove quite telling for 2013.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer