German Think Tank: Port Congestion Hits China Exports

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The export volume in China is expected to decrease this month compared to last month, while imports are likely to stagnate. This is due to the problems in the Chinese port of Ningbo, which was partly closed due to a corona outbreak.

 

That expectation was expressed by the German think tank The Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its trade report on China.

The institute saw ships leaving Chinese ports to fall by 6 percent in August compared to July. That indicates that shipments in the country are declining amid a rising number of infections with the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The latter threatens to disrupt the recovery of world trade.

“While there have been tentative signs of recovery in recent weeks, the closure of the terminal in Ningbo is now once again exacerbating bottlenecks in container traffic,” said Vincent Stamer, head of the Kiel Trade Indicator. Moreover, if the goods trade with China does not recover quickly, he believes the crisis also affects the Christmas trade. This can result in Christmas items becoming more expensive or not available at all.

The partial closure of the port of Ningbo has also caused congestion in other ports in China as ships had to divert. As a result, waiting times for ships increased in the ports of Shanghai and Hong Kong, among others.

The institute also said cargo volumes in the Red Sea, the main sea trade route between China and Europe, are currently 20 percent lower than generally expected. In doing so, the think tank considered the general increase in Chinese exports since the pandemic.

The Kiel Institute’s forecast is based on data on the volume of ships leaving ports. That statistic does not so much reflect the value of the output or its size.

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