Chinese Exports to the United States Reach Record High

December 7, 2020

This time last year, few would have thought that Chinese exports to the U.S. would reach new heights. The coronavirus upended expectations, however, and as the pandemic drags on, China may continue to break records.

Chinese exports jumped 21.1% year-over-year in November, the strongest performance since 2011. The trade surplus also reached a record high, climbing to $75.4 billion. Much of that was driven of new iPhones to the U.S., as mobile phone shipments alone increased by $8 billion for the month.

While the release of a new iPhone takes some of the credit, the underlying cause remains the coronavirus. Demand for electronics, both necessary goods for the shift to working from home, as well as consumer goods, has been extremely strong all year. The Wall Street Journal argues that U.S. manufacturing is not equipped to handle the surge in demand, even in the best of times, as most supply chains are now concentrated in Asia. Add to that the surging cases of coronavirus throughout the country, which has resulted in American factories being unable to find sufficient workers and fill orders. The WSJ expects Chinese exports to remain high until the vaccine is widely available and the nation’s spending shifts back to services and hospitatlity.

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