China's Surplus With US Hits New Record In November

Dow dives as enthusiasm for Trump's trade truce fades

Dow dives as enthusiasm for Trump's trade truce fades

China's exports to the U.S. rose 9.8 per cent for November on-year, while imports for the month fell 25 per cent on-year, the data from China's customs administration showed.

This year, China's overall export growth has been stronger than expected in nearly every month.

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.

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

Stirring fears of a reignition of trade tension, the daughter of Huawei Technologies' founder, a top executive at the Chinese technology giant, was arrested in Canada on Dec 1 and faces extradition to the United States, threatening to drive a wedge between the USA and China.

Import growth was 3 per cent, the slowest since October 2016, and a fraction of the 14.5 per cent seen in the poll.

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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That front-loading may still have been happening in November as the United States tariff hike threatened for Jan 1, 2019 was still on the table before presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met during the Group of 20 summit.

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.

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

The new export order component in China's official purchasing managers' index had been contracting since June and barely picked up in November.

"China talks are going very well!"

China's trade surplus with the United States was $35.55 billion in November, a record high and compared with $31.78 billion in the preceding month. "Export growth will decline significantly to low single-digits next year as front-loading ends". 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.

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.

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