Saturday, 18 November, 2017

China Imports Surge; Export Growth Eases In February

The US trade deficit in goods with China rose nearly 13 percent over December 2016's level The US trade deficit in goods with China rose nearly 13 percent over December 2016's level
Juana Turner | 10 March, 2017, 00:15

Chinese exports fell in February by 1.3 per cent in U.S. dollar terms, from a year earlier, China's customs administration said today, while imports surged by 38.1 per cent, nearly double analysts' expectations.

China ran a trade deficit of $9.1 billion in February, as it usually does early in the year as factories replenish raw materials and components following their holiday shutdown.

China's trade balance was thrust back into the spotlight by Donald Trump during the United States presidential election campaign.

"The latest trade data suggests that, seasonal distortions aside, both exports and imports strengthened at the start of 2017", Mr Julian Evans-Pritchard, a China economist at Capital Economics in Singapore, wrote in a note.

The U.S. chalked up its largest trade deficit since March 2012 as a jump in merchandise imports in January exceeded a smaller gain in shipments overseas.

In the first two months of this year, China still recorded a trade surplus of 293.65 billion yuan, the customs administration said.

The report also said the goods deficit widened to $69.7 billion in January from $65.7 billion in December, while the services surplus fell to $21.2 billion from $21.4 billion. However, February included an extended holiday period due to the Lunar New Year which will have caused output to dip.

"Team Trump really has their work cut out for them if they are going to stick with the campaign pledge to double growth", said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in NY. Analysts polled by Reuters had project a 12.3 percent rise in exports and a 20 percent increase in imports.

USA exports edged up a slight 0.6 per cent to $192.1 billion, helped by stronger auto sales.

China's coal imports dipped slightly in December from the previous month but were still up more than 50% from a year earlier at 26.84 million tonnes. However, the trade deficit with Mexico narrowed to $3.9 billion, the smallest since July 2015.

The government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang Sunday said China would ensure that foreign trade continues to pick up with policies to optimize imports and exports. They can deliberately inflate imports to move money out of China. Weak global demand is a drag on Beijing's efforts to nurture self-sustaining economic growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment.

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