除此之外，进口放缓的另一个原因是投资者对欧洲债务问题的担忧引发了一些商品价格的下跌，全球经济金融分析机构IHS Global Insight的全球经济学总监托德•李评论道。在刚刚过去的三月份，原油、铁矿石等诸多货物价格的快速上涨导致了中国出人意料地爆出了73亿美元的贸易逆差。但是在过去的11周当中，正当希腊经济动荡，濒临债务违约边缘之时，商品价格出现了下滑。6月，由于国际原油价格降低了5个百分点，中国进口原油掉价23亿美元。
尽管美国商务部（U.S. Commerce Department）本周二报道称，美国的贸易逆差已经达到了近两年半以来的新高，但这并不应该成为给中国施压并要求其加速人民币升值的理由。否则美国难免会被扣上虚伪的帽子。华尔街日报（The Wall Street Journal）周一指出，美国出口之所以能取得快速增长，弱势美元帮了大忙。2010年，美国对外出口商品及相关服务共1.3万亿美元，较2002年的6，970亿美元有大幅的增长。也正是在2002年，美元汇价开始了从高位回落的旅程。
China's closely watched trade surplus swelled to $22.3 billion in June, hitting a seven-month high amid troubles in some of the country's biggest overseas markets. Chinese exports rose 17.9% compared with the same period a year ago even as high unemployment in the U.S. and escalating debt problems in parts of Europe continued constraining consumers.
The strong numbers underscore the resilience of Chinese exports. But that's not exactly good news as officials try to rebalance growth so that the world's second-largest economy is more reliant on selling goods and services at home than abroad. And the figures, released by China's government earlier this week, could boost pressure on Beijing from the U.S. and other countries to let the yuan appreciate faster.
Although China's currency has generally helped the country sell goods and services cheaply abroad, June's trade surplus has more to do with factors beyond the yuan's value.
Since China began to let its currency rise in June 2010, it has strengthened more than 5.5% against the U.S. dollar. The efforts aren't enough for some, however. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has publicly urged China to accelerate appreciation of its currency. And some U.S. lawmakers have suggested more punitive actions to deal with nations believed to be artificially keeping their currencies weak. This isn't all too surprising, given that the U.S. and others recovering from the financial crisis have been counting on exports to grow their economies.
But for all the bad rap the yuan gets, it's hard not to wonder if it's really deserved.
June's trade surplus reflects a significant slowdown in Chinese imports, which rose 19.3% to $139.7 billion – the slowest pace in 20 months. This comes as China's government tries to tame steadily rising food and property prices by way of monetary tightening.
What's more, the slowdown in imports can be attributed to the recent fall of certain commodity prices as investors worry about Europe's debt crisis, says Todd Lee, global economics director with IHS Global Insight. It was just in March when rapidly rising prices for shipments of everything from oil to iron ore helped China unexpectedly post a $7.3 billion trade deficit. But in the past 11 weeks as Greece teetered on the edge of default, commodity prices have dropped. In June, Chinese imports of crude oil fell by $2.3 billion – mostly due to a 5% drop in global oil prices during the month.
Of course, the monthly statistics only tell part of the story. If we look at the bigger trend on a year-over-year basis, Chinese exports relative to imports have actually been declining.
China's trade surplus reached $297 billion in 2008, but fell to $198 billion in 2009. It narrowed further in 2010 to $185 billion. Moody's Analytics forecasts the surplus is on track to fall even more this year – pointing that it has reached $45 billion so far, compared with $56 billion over the same period last year.
And even though the U.S. Commerce Department reported today that the U.S. trade deficit reached its highest level in May in two and a half years, this shouldn't be taken as reason to put further pressure on China to appreciate the yuan at a faster pace. After all, it would be sort of hypocritical. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out Monday, U.S. exports have gained in a big way with a weaker dollar. In 2010, U.S. goods and services sold abroad totaled $1.3 trillion, up significantly from $697 billion in 2002 when the greenback's value began falling from its peak.