Business

China Exports, Imports Up for First Time in Three Years

China Exports, Imports Up for First Time in Three Years

China's trade surplus soared to the highest level in almost two years in December, fueled by strength in exports and a surprise deceleration in imports.

The billionaire's comments and economically nationalist platform - including pulling out of a key Pacific pact and threatening to tear up another with Canada - have fanned fears of a trade war.

Economists had expected China's trade surplus to have narrowed to $37 billion in December from November's $40.21 billion.

The U.S. was China's second-largest trade partner after the European Union, according to customs.

China's exports and imports both increased for the first time in three years in 2017, official figures showed Friday, but trade tensions with the USA and cooling domestic demand are clouding prospects this year.

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

According to China's General Administration of Customs, the nation's trade surplus rose to $US54.69 billion last month, well above the $US40.21 billion level of November and forecasts for a decrease to $US37 billion.

It will be hard to keep double-digit trade growth this year given the many global uncertainties and a high comparison base, Huang said. Imports expanded 4.5 percent to $177.1 billion, down from November's 17.7 percent gain. An imports boom is being driven by the economy's unexpectedly robust expansion in 2017, with the nation's gross domestic product expanding by about 6.9 per cent a year ago, the official Xinhua News Agency cited Premier Li Keqiang as saying this week. The president has connected the two issues a number of times.

For the month of December, the change was even more dramatic: Overall trade for that month fell 50.6 percent from the same period in 2016.

Fuel imports past year rose 6.4% to 29.64 million tonnes. "China trade tensions", Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at research firm Oxford Economics, noted on Friday.


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