Chinese Imports : What’s Behind the Slowdown?
Real imports in China have decelerated significantly over the last two years to below 4 percent (yoy) from double-digit growth in previous years. Weaker investment, partly due to progress in rebalancing from investment to consumption, has been the main factor accounting for about 40–50 percent of slowdown during this period. Weaker exports also account for about 40 percent of slowdown, of which about a quarter is due to stronger RMB. Onshoring—substitution of imported intermediate inputs with domestic production—has not been an additional drag over this period but it continues to slow import growth at a similar pace as previous periods. There is large uncertainty about the impact of rebalancing on the import slowdown due to difficulties in identifying the counterfactual nonrebalancing path.