China's trade surplus widens in June as imports drop

Postado Julho 13, 2018

A general view of a container port in Shanghai August 11, 2009.

Beijing announced Friday that China's surplus with the U.S. hit an all-time high of $28.97 billion (€24.85 billion) in June, with exports reaching a record $42.62 billion in June.

But signs exporters were rushing shipments before tariffs went into effect in the first week of July suggest the spike in the surplus was a one-off, with analysts expecting a less favorable trade balance for China in coming months as duties on exports start to bite.

In the first six months of the year, China's exports to the United States rose 13.6% from a year earlier, while imports from the U.S. increased by 11.8%.

While China continues to benefit from strong global demand for its goods for now, the rising trade tensions with the USA has the potential to hurt both sides.

The dispute has jolted global financial markets, raising worries a full-scale trade war could derail the world economy.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as United States tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Capital Economics analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard said in a statement.

China's commerce ministry confirmed last month that Chinese exporters were front-loading exports to the U.S.to get ahead of expected tariffs - a situation that could exacerbate any slowdown in shipments toward the year-end.

"It noted that China has been willing to talk to the United States about trade irritants".

After a strong start to the year, growth in China's exports has moderated recently, and is expected to face more pressure from the initial round of U.S. tariffs. Both official and private business surveys reported softer export orders last month as the trade row deepens.

"We expect the trade numbers for July to disappoint since that's when the first round of USA tariffs took effect", said Amy Zhuang, China analyst at Nordea Bank in Singapore.

Investors fear a prolonged trade battle with the United States could harm business confidence and investment, disrupting global supply chains and harming growth in China and the rest of the world.

In yuan terms, China's exports grew 3.1% in June and imports rose 6.0%.

The commerce ministry also said this week it will use funds collected from tariffs charged on imports from the U.S.to help ease the impact of US trade actions on Chinese companies and their employees.

The spiralling battle with Beijing shows no signs of cooling down, and observers warn the impact will begin to hurt soon as China's economy struggles with slowing growth just as leaders try to battle a worryingly large debt mountain.

China's exports rose 11.3% in June from a year earlier, compared with a 12.6% increase in May, customs data showed.

Over the first six months of the year the surplus climbed to $133.8 billion as total two-way trade continued to expand despite the face-off.

The data could renew longstanding criticism from the United States and Europe that the world's top metal producer is selling its surplus product overseas, hurting foreign rivals.

China also accused the US of "slander", saying that its allegation that Beijing is "gaining extra advantage through unfair trade practice is a distortion of facts and hence is groundless".