In January 2022, China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange published data showing that the total foreign exchange settlement in 2021 had a surplus of US $267.6 billion, an increase of $110 billion from the $158.7 billion surplus in 2020.
Epoch Times pointed out that this surplus was mainly due to the drop in Chinese tourists’ spending overseas. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 20 million Chinese traveled abroad, a drop of 87 percent from a year earlier. Chinese tourists’ spending overseas was $116 billion. It was less than what the foreign tourists spent in China.
In 2021, an estimated 25.6 million Chinese went abroad. The total tourists’ spending difference has not been released, but in the first half of 2021, Chinese tourists’ spending overseas was US $44.4 billion less than what the foreign tourists spent in China. Following this trend, the annual tourists spending gap will be around US $100 billion. Therefore, China’s foreign exchange settlement surplus may just come from Chinese tourists spending less overseas.
Source: Epoch Times, January 25, 2022