(Yicai Global) Dec. 4 -- China is set to surpass the US as the world's biggest importer in the next five years as private consumption lifts imports of consumer goods, according to a report released today by state-owned investment bank China International Capital Corp. [HK:3908].
China's annual import growth has averaged about 6 percentage points higher than that of the US in the past decade, setting it up to overtake the US in 2022, or in 2025 if imports grow at a rate four percentage points higher than the US, the report said.
China is already the top exporter and second-largest importer. Last year, its exports and imports reached USD2.1 trillion and USD1.6 trillion, respectively, accounting for 13.5 percent and 9.9 percent of the global total, the report said. In comparison, the US imported USD2.2 trillion worth of goods last year.
Import growth rebounded this year on an improving domestic economy and rising global commodity prices after a slowdown in recent years. Imports have gained at a 17.2 percent annual clip since the start of the year, 10 percentage points higher than America's, the report added.
Consumer goods have accounted for an increasing share of China's total imports in the last decade. The US and Japan also saw an increase in consumer goods' share of total imports when their income levels were close to China's current levels, meaning China's consumer goods imports are likely to keep rising for some time to come, according to CICC.