Chinese Dry Bulk Imports Surge In 2020, Account For Half of All Trade
Boosted by government stimulus measures, Chinese dry bulk imports surged by an estimated 12% in 2020, while imports into the rest of the world declined by close to 9%. As a result, Chinese imports accounted for just about half of all trade, compared to an average of 40-45% over the previous ten years.
Developments in 2020 followed a pattern similar to what was seen in 2009, during the global financial crisis, when Chinese demand soared in response to even stronger stimulus measures, while imports into the rest of the world languished. It’s worth noting that this pattern was reversed in 2010, as the world economy rebounded from the financial crisis. In response, China wound down its stimulus program, leading to slower growth in Chinese imports, while the rest of the world posted strong gains, as industrial activity recovered.
We expect a similar pattern to emerge in 2021, with Chinese demand likely to grow much more slowly as stimulus measures are eased, but the rest of the world is likely to pick up the slack, with imports recovering strongly.