Monday, 22 January, 2018

China 2017 trade surplus with US tops $275bn to record high

Chinese trade picked up last year on the back of a strong global economyMore Chinese trade picked up last year on the back of a strong global economyMore
Nellie Chapman | 12 January, 2018, 15:10

"I think the [December] slowdown is really mild - mostly in line with seasonality", said Victor You, an analyst with CLSA in Hong Kong, who tracks China's iron ore, coal, copper and copper concentrate imports, as well as its exports of steel products and aluminum.

During his November visit to Beijing, the two countries announced more than $250 billion in business deals providing some salve to Trump?s fixation on trade. "Import growth will slow too as China's economic expansion slows amid weaker investment in manufacturing and property".

He estimated that, according to the American government's means of calculation - which usually produce higher balance numbers than the Chinese numbers - China's trade surplus against the USA may have reached $376 billion in 2017.

In dollar terms, exports advanced 10.9 percent year-over-year in December, just above the 10.8 percent rise economists had forecast.

The European Union, the United States and ASEAN are the top three trading partners of China, with exports to the United States rising 15.2 percent year on year.

Friday's trade data reflects cooling ties between Beijing and Pyongyang. China's December trade surplus with the USA was $25.55 billion, compared to $27.87 billion in November. In the first half of 2017, Zhoushan Port handled 515 million tonnes cargoes, up 11.3 percent year-on-year, and 12.39 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers, up 14.6 percent year-on-year.

The "continued strength of China's exports to the US ... is bound to add to U.S".

Trump will have opportunities to impose tariffs on a range of Chinese goods.

China has so far resisted taking major retaliatory action against United States imports despite a volley of new duties and investigations from the White House.

In December, China's exports jumped 10.9% from a year ago to $231.8 billion, down from a 12.3% pace in the previous month.

Compared with a month earlier, exports fell 9.7 percent.

"We have since long expected China's domestic demand and imports to slow in 2018 on gradually tighter monetary and financial policies and slower real estate activity", Kuijs said.

Arrivals for December came in at about 84.3 million tonnes, versus 94.54 million tonnes in November, according to Reuters' calculations based on annual data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

He estimated that imports declined by the biggest margin in nearly two years in volume terms in December as purchases of industrial commodities plummeted.