The Peoples Republic of China will "probably overtake Germany to become the world's largest exporter" though its exports in 2009 had fallen 16% from a year earlier, according to figures released by the General Administration of Customs. GAC figures quoted by the official Xinhua newsagency showed the PRC's monthly exports in December 2009 were worth $130.7 billion, up 17.7% from a year earlier. It was the first rise since November 2008, when the country's exports contracted 2.2% year on year after sluggish overseas demand crippled China's export engine.
In December 2009, China's imports hit a record monthly high to reach $112.3 billion, up 55.9% from the same period of 2008. Analaysist explained this was the result of strong domestic demand for commodities and mechanical equipment that were necessary for construction of infrastructure projects and property and also manufacturing.
China's imports of iron ore in 2009 rose 41.6% from a year earlier to 630 Mt, at an average price of $79.9/tonne.
UPDATE (15 Jan):
GAC data also shows that China imported over 89.10 Mt of coal during Jan-Nov 2009, surpassing the 22.4 Mt of coal exported during the same period. The discrepancy is expected to increase when the figures for the last month are released, with analysts estimating net imports in the region of 97.6 Mt.