This episode contains segments on producer and consumer prices in China in December 2023; on China’s 2023 foreign trade data; on five measures announced by the National Immigration Administration to facilitate foreign nationals’ visits to China and on China’s 2023 GDP and other key economic indicators. From the Chamber’s side: the Business Confidence Survey 2024 officially opened online on 15th January, with a link to the survey and a unique access code sent to the primary contacts of all member companies. Complete the survey before 9th February to add your company’s voice to the Chamber’s advocacy messaging for the coming year.
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China PPI and CPI, December
China foreign trade data, December
The National Immigration Administration’s five measures to facilitate foreign nationals’ entry into China
2023 official economic data
European Chamber Business Confidence Survey 2024
XINHE: Hello and welcome to China Shortcuts,
XINHE: Producer prices in China fell 2.7 per cent year-on-year in December, maintaining a downward trajectory for the fifteenth consecutive month, underscoring prolonged weak demand.
MARIANN: While the year-on-year drop slowed slightly from November, on a month-on-month basis, producer prices continued to slide at the same speed as recorded in the previous month. Overall, in 2023, prices producers charge their clients shrank 3 per cent compared to 2022.
Meanwhile, consumer prices fell for the third month in a row in December. However, the 0.3 per cent rate of year-on-year decrease was milder than the data from the previous month. In 2023, consumer prices edged up 0.2 per cent compared to 2022, staying well below the official target which aimed to cap annual inflation at 3 per cent.
XINHE: For the first time in seven years, the value of China’s full-year exports in US dollar-denominated terms fell in 2023 due to sluggish global demand and the depreciation of the renminbi.
MARIANN: The full-year foreign trade data showed a 4.6 per cent decline in exports and a 5.5 per cent drop in imports compared to 2022. This was despite a year-on-year uptick recorded both in the value of exports and imports in December. In fact, at 2.3 per cent, the growth in export value was the highest since April. The drop in the value of exports can at least be partly attributed to the depreciation of China’s currency, as in Chinese yuan terms the full-year export value showed a 0.6 per cent increase.
The European Union remained China’s second largest trade partner in 2023 after the Association of South-East Asian Nations, withthe United States the third largest.
MARIANN: The measures seem to bring some improvement, for instance by providing the option for foreign nationals who need to travel to China urgently to apply for a port visa on arrival. However, some do not appear to be completely new or are not expected to bring about significant changes for the majority of foreigners travelling to China. Further clarification on the implementation of a number of these measures is still needed.
XINHE: In a dataset released on 17th January, China’s statistics bureau announced that in 2023, the country’s gross domestic product, or GDP, grew 5.2 per cent from 2022, in line with the government’s target of “around 5 per cent”.
MARIANN: Other highlights of the dataset showed that industrial production increased 4.6 per cent year-on-year, while retail sales were up 7.2 per cent from the previous year. Surveyed urban unemployment stood at 5.2 per cent, 0.4 per cent lower than in 2022. Although last year the National Bureau of Statistics discontinued the monthly release of the unemployment data broken down to different age groups, it did provide the numbers for the whole year, 14.9 per cent of young people between the ages of 16 to 24 were out of a job in China’s larger cities last year. Meanwhile, China’s population decreased by over 2 million compared to 2022.
XINHE: Since its founding in 2001, the European Chamber has been conducting its Business Confidence Survey to provide an annual snapshot of how European business is faring in China. Based on the survey’s findings, the report presents both the hurdles that European companies are facing in the Chinese market, as well as the improvements that they have seen.
MARIANN: This year’s online survey officially opened on 15th January, with a link to the survey and a unique access code sent to the primary contacts of all member companies.
XINHE: By completing the survey before 9th February, your company will help to shape the Chamber’s advocacy messaging for the coming year. All information received from members will be anonymised and remain strictly confidential.
MARIANN: Thanks for listening. Tune in again next week.
XINHE: In the meantime, please find useful links in the episode notes.