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    China's exports pinched by global run on shipping containers and CNY raising

    According to data released by the General Administration of Customs on January 14, the total value of China's import and export of goods in 2020 reached 32.16 trillion yuan, an increase of 1.9% over 2019. Among them, exports were 17.93 trillion yuan, an increase of 4%; imports were 14.23 trillion yuan, a decrease of 0.7%. It is worth noting that the trade surplus in 2020 will reach 3.7 trillion yuan, an increase of 27.4%, a record high in five years.

    Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs and Director of the Statistics and Analysis Department, pointed out at a press conference on the 14th that China’s foreign trade imports and exports have achieved positive growth for seven consecutive months starting in June 2020, and the total value of imports and exports throughout the year has doubled. A record high.

    Also setting a new high is China's share of the international market in imports and exports. According to data published by the WTO and other countries, in the first 10 months of 2020, China's international market share of imports and exports, exports and imports reached 12.8%, 14.2%, and 11.5%, respectively, setting record highs, becoming the only world in the world to achieve positive growth in trade in goods The status of the major economies in China and the largest country in trade in goods has been further consolidated.

    Pang Chaoran, an associate researcher of the Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce, said in an interview with Times Finance and Economics on the 14th that the PMI new export order index continued to stand above the line of prosperity and decline in December, indicating that the expectations and confidence of foreign trade companies are improving. The volume of goods is still growing at a high speed, and follow-up stimulus policies such as the United States will effectively stimulate external demand. The positive development of foreign trade in recent months will continue to be maintained.

    But for foreign trade companies, the recent appreciation of the renminbi and the increase in shipping costs have caused them to fall into the embarrassing situation of "the more they export, the more they lose."

    Substitution effect has helped launch a higher than expected growth

    As the world faces the new crown pneumonia epidemic, China's imports and exports in 2020 have achieved unexpected growth. Especially in terms of exports, it has maintained growth for 9 consecutive months since the realization of "stopping decline and rebounding" in April last year. Li Kuiwen believes that anti-epidemic materials and "home economy" products have promoted rapid export growth.

    According to customs data, China’s exports of textiles, medical devices, and medicines, including masks, increased by 31% in total, driving an overall export growth of 1.9%. China’s exports of notebook computers, tablet computers, and household appliances increased by 22.1% in total, driving a 1.3% increase in overall exports.

    At the same time, the unexpected growth of exports in 2020 is also related to China's export substitution to other countries. The "Analysis and Forecast of China's Import and Export Situation in 2021" issued by the Chinese Academy of Sciences pointed out that the increase in China's export share to the United States and the EU is mainly due to the substitution of exports to Japan and South Korea; the increase in the share of exports to ASEAN is mainly due to the substitution of exports to Japan; The substitution effect of the exports of emerging Asian economies such as Vietnam and South Korea is not obvious. It is more related to the local economic development and the reorganization of the industrial chain.

    In terms of commodities, the above report pointed out that China's mechanical and electrical products, furniture, miscellaneous products, base metals and their products have a strong comparative advantage in international trade and are expected to maintain export substitution after the epidemic; while plastic and rubber products, chemical Products, optical and medical instruments, transportation equipment and other products may be temporary export substitutes. For example, due to the impact of Japan and the European Union's auto industry production being blocked during the epidemic, China's auto parts exports have shown a temporary substitute effect.

    The Center for Predictive Science Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences predicts that under the scenario of a certain degree of control of the global epidemic, slow recovery of the world economy, and steady growth of the Chinese economy, China's total import and export volume is expected to be approximately US$4.9 trillion in 2021, an increase of approximately 5.7% year-on-year.

    Among them, the total export volume was approximately US$2.7 trillion, an increase of approximately 6.2% year-on-year, and the total import volume was approximately US$2.2 trillion, an increase of approximately 4.9% year-on-year; the trade surplus was approximately US$576.6 billion.

    Zhou Maohua, a macro analyst at the Financial Markets Department of Everbright Bank, predicts that China's foreign trade is expected to continue to maintain a relatively high level of prosperity in 2021. "From the perspective of imports, the normalization of domestic epidemic prevention and control and underpinning policies continue to support the steady recovery of demand and drive imports; in terms of external demand, thanks to vaccination and continued implementation of unprecedented scale relief policies by major economies, the global economy has recovered and The demand for anti-epidemic-related commodities and materials is still strong, which is good for my country's foreign trade exports."

    Passive appreciation, SME profits hurt

    The export situation is improving, but small and medium-sized enterprises are facing the pressure of "two big mountains", one of which is the worry caused by the appreciation of the renminbi. Since May 2020, the renminbi has begun to enter the appreciation channel. The exchange rate against the US dollar rose above 6.5 last year, and recently the renminbi exchange rate broke 6.4.

    Judging from recent data, CICC pointed out that the appreciation of the renminbi has not curbed exports for the time being, but the pressure on the profits of export companies has emerged. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in the November survey, the proportion of export companies that said the recent renminbi exchange rate fluctuations had a negative impact on their profits rose to 18.8%, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from the previous month.

    On the one hand, foreign trade companies have made the clamor for a huge increase in exports, but on the other hand they have lost profits. Many foreign trade companies report that foreign exchange can reduce corporate profits by hundreds of thousands overnight.

    Especially for small and medium-sized foreign trade companies, the negative impact is even greater. Zhou Maohua pointed out to Times Finance and Economics on the 14th that for some small and medium-sized foreign trade companies with thin profits and weak anti-risk capabilities, their profits are highly sensitive to fluctuations in the RMB exchange rate. "Generally speaking, foreign trade companies can use foreign exchange derivatives (foreign exchange forwards, swaps, options, etc.) to hedge foreign exchange risks to minimize the erosion of the renminbi exchange rate fluctuations on the profits of foreign trade companies."

    However, Zhou Maohua also said that some small foreign trade companies lack scale effects due to small orders and trade volumes, and financial institutions are not willing to hedge for companies. Some small and medium-sized enterprises also lack relevant professional knowledge and talents.

    In fact, the government has already noticed the risk of rapid exchange rate appreciation last year. At the Central Economic Work Conference in December last year, "deepening the reform of interest rate and exchange rate marketization and maintaining the basic stability of the RMB exchange rate at a reasonable and equilibrium level" was again put on the focus.

    Zhou Maohua believes that from the perspective of domestic fundamentals and global economic policies, the RMB exchange rate will gradually return to fundamentals in 2021 and maintain a strong two-way oscillation pattern near a reasonable equilibrium level.

    "Domestic monetary policy will not make a sharp turn. The interest rates of major central banks in Europe and the United States have basically bottomed out. With the gradual spread of vaccination, large-scale domestic demand support policies in Europe and the United States, and the economy’s adaptation to the epidemic, it will push the world back on track. The differentiation between major economies has narrowed significantly. At the same time, the domestic economic structure changes and the pace of opening up to the outside world has accelerated, the balance of payments has remained stable as a whole, and the flexibility of the RMB exchange rate has increased significantly. The RMB exchange rate will play an "automatic stabilizer" for the balance of international payments. Role." Zhou Maohua pointed out to Times Finance.

    In an interview, Pang Chaoran also believed that the yuan may continue to maintain a stable and orderly development trend in the future. "However, from the external environment, the United States will introduce fiscal stimulus measures in the future. The Fed is not likely to withdraw from the easing policy due to the balance of the U.S. economy and long-term inflation. The epidemic has caused slow economic recovery in European and American countries, and the RMB exchange rate will be passive to a certain extent. Push up."

    Zhang Ming, deputy director of the Institute of Finance of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, predicts that the probability of the renminbi's exchange rate against the US dollar breaking 6 in 2021 is very small, and it is more likely to fluctuate around the range of 6.2-6.6, with the central level around 6.4.

    At the same time, in addition to being affected by the passive appreciation of the renminbi, foreign trade companies have to face a surge in regional trade, which has led to a situation in which container shipping is in short supply. The China Container Industry Association issued an action proposal on the container industry chain to work together to stabilize foreign trade and promote growth in November last year, and pointed out that at present, China can only return one for every three containers exported, and a large number of empty containers are in the United States, Europe and Australia. Backlog. Containers that can be returned in the usual 60 days are now delayed to 100 days. China’s export container freight index rose by 84.8% throughout the year.

    Correspondingly, the current container price has reached a high level once in a decade, and it is expected that the imbalance between supply and demand in a short period of time is still difficult to recover. Liu Rong, chief analyst of China Merchants Securities' machinery industry, pointed out in a conference call on January 4 that the price of containers has actually reached US$3,000, and it is expected that the price of containers will reach more than US$2,500 in the first half of this year.

    According to the container equipment leasing company Textainer, the shortage of containers will continue until after the Spring Festival in 2021.

    In response to the shortage of containers, the China Container Industry Association proposed in the above-mentioned initiative that container production-related enterprises should continue to improve production efficiency, continue to tap potential production capacity, and make every effort to ensure the delivery of new container orders as soon as possible. Container material supply companies must make every effort to ensure the supply of raw materials and avoid the impact of the shortage of raw materials on the production of container manufacturing member units, so as to improve the current situation of container supply and demand imbalance.

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