Sunday, 16 December, 2018

China’s trade surplus with U.S. reaches record level

Xinhua  Sipa USA  Newscom Xinhua Sipa USA Newscom
Nellie Chapman | 08 December, 2018, 17:39

As part of the truce, Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise the tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% beginning 1 January, leaving them at the current 10% rate.

While at the conclusion of Saturday's working dinner, both the US and Chinese delegations said that what amounted to a trade war "truce" between the leaders had been reached, the messaging from the White House that followed seemed to only muddy the waters.

High Chinese retaliatory tariffs on US soybeans have caused the USA exports of soybeans to drop by as much as 97 percent.

He also said that Xi had promised him that the Chinese government would crack down harder on fentanyl shipments from China to the US, and tweeted a quote from a Bloomberg story which said that China was ready to restart imports of USA products, including soybeans and natural gas.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that "very strong signals" were being sent by China regarding trade with the United States.

Growth in imports for November slowed sharply to 3.0 percent from a 21.4 jump in October, and far missed analysts' forecast of 14.5 percent.

Imports grew 3 per cent, widening China's trade surplus to US$44.7 billion from US$34 billion.

Talks during the 90 day period during which President Donald Trump has agreed to suspend USA tariff hikes will start by focusing on farm goods, energy and automobiles, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng.

Shipments to the whole world in United States dollar terms rose 5.4 per cent in November, the customs administration said Saturday, missing estimates.

"This data shows that tariffs have been an unmitigated failure in achieving any of the administration's goals", said Charles Boustany, spokesman for Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and a former Republican congressman, in a statement. November's China numbers might add a sense of urgency.

Xu Jianwei, senior China economist from French bank Natixis, said the bigger fall in imports from 21.4 per cent in October pointed to weakness in domestic demand but higher base number from November previous year also needed to be taken into account.

In particular, imports of soybeans plunged by 38 per cent, while iron ore, coal and steel imports also fell.

"China talks are going very well!" The October surplus was US$31.78 billion. 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.