Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

China’s trade surplus with United States reaches record level

China’s trade surplus with United States reaches record level

The customs data showed that annual growth for exports to all of China's major partners slowed significantly.

"We are confident in implementation", the Chinese commerce ministry said, describing negotiations as "successful".

For its part, China has said it will import more USA products to reduce its trade surplus, but no dollar amount has been publicly discussed.

China's exports increased far less than expected in November, apparently indicating that slowing global demand outweighed any gains from a rush to ship goods to the United States ahead of a now-postponed January 1 increase in Washington's import tariffs.

However, the pace of export growth to the USA slowed from 13 per cent in October, which suggested that the impact of front-loading was fading as many American buyers had stockpiled goods well in advance.

But growth of exports and imports slowed from October, with exports rising 5.4 per cent for November on-year, short of the 9.4 per cent forecast by Bloomberg News, and imports rising 3.0 per cent on-year, also below the forecast.

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The president's optimism comes just after a day since he publicly declared himself a "Tariff Man", and stood by his protectionist trade policies even after stocks fell almost 800 points amid confusion over the result of Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Imports of iron ore fell for a second time, reflecting waning restocking demand at steel-mills as profit margins narrow.

Trump and figures in his administration have said China would immediately start buying United States goods in bulk, but Beijing has refrained from confirming those claims.

Last week, as part of the trade war truce, Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs on Dollars 200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 per cent beginning January 1, leaving them at the current 10 per cent rate.

Economists say one factor helping keep up Chinese exports this year is that the yuan has weakened more than 5 per cent against the dollar, helping to make Chinese products more competitive overseas.

Economists in recent months have penciled in a deterioration in China's export outlook in 2019, factoring in higher USA tariffs on a wider range of Chinese goods. The most recent event - which ran from mid-October to early November - saw transactions falling by 1 per cent, or US$300 million, compared with last autumn. Government support measures have yet to boost business sentiment and offset the effects of waning domestic and global demand.

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