Photo: AFP
The world trade system faces threats from many directions, economists say. Photo: AFP

Chinese imports surged during the three months ended in August, and by far the largest source of additional imports was non-Japan Asia.

As we reported yesterday, the Netherlands CPB data on world trade volume show impressive growth in the year through July 2018, with import growth in non-Japan Asia in excess of 13%. Further investigation shows that this is driven by Chinese imports, probably in response to China’s stimulus program.

China imports YOY change

Non-Japan Asia is by far the largest source of Chinese imports in any event.

China imports by region

The import surge suggests that the Chinese stimulus has had the desired impact on the consumer sector. China is indeed opening its economy to more trade, but mainly to its trading partners in Asia. It’s not surprising in this context to see tepid readings for manufacturing PMI combined with strong readings for services PMI.