Trade dispute: China's trade surplus drops - only with America

Trade dispute: China's trade surplus drops - only with America

Trade dispute: China's trade surplus drops - only with America

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China's 2018 trade surplus with the USA surged to a record $323.3 billion.

China's overall December exports unexpectedly fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier, the biggest monthly drop in two years, the customs data showed on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected December shipments from the world's largest exporter to have risen 3.0 percent, slowing from 5.4 percent in November.

Another reason for the trade deficit's jump previous year is that USA firms may have hiked their imports of Chinese goods in reaction to Mr. Trump's threat to increase tariffs before he postponed them until March in a December decision.

"We are doing very well with China".

Global markets are closely monitoring data from China.

China's foreign trade rose 9.7 percent year on year to a historic high of 30.51 trillion yuan (about 4.5 trillion US dollars) in 2018, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Monday.

China's large trade surplus with the United States has always been a sore point with Washington, which has demaded Beijing should take steps to reduce it.

Washington imposed import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods a year ago and has threatened further action if Beijing does not change its practices on issues ranging from industrial subsidies to intellectual property.

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Tax cuts passed signed into law in late 2017 by Mr. Trump likely gave the US economy a quick lift past year by boosting disposable income.

However, Beijing's export data had been surprisingly resilient to tariffs for much of 2018, possibly because companies ramped up shipments before broader and stiffer USA duties went into effect. "At the same time, the United States side also seems to be under more pressure to de-escalate tension in terms of news on the economy and financial markets than a few months ago". China exports to the United States declined 3.5 percent in December while its imports from the USA were down 35.8 percent for the month.

Russia-China trade turnover has grown significantly over recent years.

But December's gloomy data, along with several months of falling factory orders, suggest a further weakening in its exports in the near term. The deficit that the USA has with China is likely even bigger than these figures indicate since China calculates the numbers using different methods, sometimes excluding goods that end up in the US via other countries.

Russian Federation became China's number one partner when it comes to trade growth dynamics, according to the GAC spokesman Li Kuiwen.

It is the second largest world economy and the most important trading partner for a large number of countries, so its data often covers a very wide range of companies. For all of 2018, soybeans, the second largest imports from the USA, fell for the first time since 2011.

Chinese shipments are already under pressure from slowing demand from top trade partners-Europe's recovery is under question, with Germany triggering recession fears, Japan is facing a tougher 2019 and the USA itself forecast to see waning growth after a robust 2018.

With policy easing unlikely to put a floor beneath domestic economic activity until the second half of this year, import growth is likely to remain subdued, they added.

"Significant uncertainty remains as to whether there could be a "deal" after March 1", Citigroup Inc economists led by Liu Ligang wrote in a note.

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