Current-account surplus in reasonable range despite economic, trade concerns: SAFE
Global Times

China's current-account surplus remained in "reasonable" range in the first quarter of the year, despite concerns stemming from a slowing economy and escalating trade tensions with the US, according to official data released on Thursday.


A citizen counts the US dollars in Houma City, north China's Shanxi Province, Oct. 11, 2011. (Photo: Xinhua)

The surplus was $49 billion, down from $54.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

Wang Chunying, chief economist at the SAFE, said that China's current-account "remained in a reasonable surplus range, with increases in the trade surplus in goods and a decline in the trade deficit in services."

In the quarter, China's merchandise trade surplus reached $94.7 billion, up 83 percent year-on-year, while the services deficit narrowed 14 percent to $63.4 billion, according to the SAFE.  

That led to a current-account balance of about 1.5 percent of GDP, beating a forecast in the IMF's spring world economic outlook that projected China's current-account balance to be about 0.5 percent of GDP. 

The IMF said that China's current account would show a deficit in 2022. 

SAFE data also showed that China remained an attractive destination for global investment in the first quarter, as the country's non-reserve financial account posted a surplus of $48.8 billion, with net inbound foreign direct investment reaching $26.5 billion. 

"In 2019, as China continues to push for high-quality growth and all-round opening-up, it will help further solidify the foundation for a stable international balance of payments," Wang said in a statement posted on the SAFE's website on Thursday.