Sunday, 15 September, 2019

China's trade surplus with the United States grew in 2018 but tariffs bite

Donald Trump's trade war hits Chinese exports China December exports unexpectedly drop
Rhonda Young | 16 January, 2019, 05:15

China's global trade volume rose past year but its surplus fell again as its imports outpaced its exports, official data released Monday showed amid a bruising trade war with the United States.

"We're doing very well with China", Trump told reporters at the White House.

According to China's customs administration, exports fell by 4.4 percent in December, while imports were at the lowest since 2016, the agency announced on Monday.

The data also revealed mixed news about the strength of the world's second-biggest economy - while China's global trade surplus was $352 billion for 2018, its global exports dropped 4.4 percent in December compared to a year earlier, while imports plunged 7.6 percent, suggesting softening demand both at home and overseas.

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Analysts polled by Reuters had expected December shipments from the world's largest exporter to have risen 3 percent, slowing from 5.4 percent in November.

"Trade cooperation with Belt and Road countries has become new driving force of China's foreign trade development", said Li. "I think that we are going to be able to do a deal with China".

However, in a sign that the White House's measures are having an impact, China's exports to the USA sank last month.

The Trump administration also wants Beijing to buy more American goods to narrow a yawning trade gap - a sticking point for U.S. president - and allow foreign players better access to the Chinese market.

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"Beijing will perhaps be more eager to strike a trade deal with the USA. policymakers will need to take more aggressive measures to stabilise GDP growth", Lu wrote in a note.

Crude oil imports for the full 2018 averaged 9.24 million bpd, up by a little over 10 percent on an annual basis, or 846,600 bpd more than the average daily import rate for 2017. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own.

The world's largest trading nation got off to a strong start in 2018, but pressure on the economy started to build later in the year as the United States and China began imposing tariffs on each other's goods and global demand started to cool.

Official data also showed the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the first time in more than two years.

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