Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

China's exports to US tick up as traders try to beat tariffs

The United States imposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods on September 24 China: Front loading import and exports? – ING
Russell Knight | 12 November, 2018, 05:59

China reported stronger-than-expected exports for last month as shippers rushed goods to the U.S., its biggest trading partner, racing to beat higher tariff rates due to kick in at the start of next year.

Imports of American goods rose 8.5 per cent to United States dollars 10.9 billion, decelerating from the previous month's 9 per cent.

Trade surplus stood at 233.63 billion yuan (about 33.76 billion US dollars) last month, expanding from 213.23 billion yuan in September, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

With the export outlook clouded by USA tariffs and the Chinese economy expanding at the weakest pace since the global financial crisis, policymakers in Beijing have recently turned their focus to growth boosting measures, including increasing export tax rebates and pledging more support to private firms. They said a meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump this month in Argentina is unlikely to produce positive results. Shipments to the United States, China's biggest market, have been unexpectedly resilient since Trump started imposing punitive tariffs goods in July in a fight over Beijing's technology policy. The Trump administration has imposed a 10 percent charge on $200 billion of Chinese goods that is due to rise to 25 percent in January. Trump has threatened to expand USA penalties to all goods from China.

China's exports in October denominated in dollars rose 21.4 percent year-on-year, exceeding an expected 14.5 percent growth forecast.

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Already, China reported slower-than-expected economic growth of 6.5 percent in the third quarter of the year - its weakest pace since the first quarter of 2009. A government survey found factory activity in October fell to a two-year low.

October was the first full month after the latest USA tariffs on Chinese goods went into effect on September 24, in a significant escalation in the tit-for-tat trade battle. Washington, Europe and other trading partners complain plans such as "Made in China 2025", which calls for creating Chinese global champions in artificial intelligence, robotics and other fields, violate Beijing's market-opening obligations. China had cut import taxes on more goods, including machinery, from November 1, on top of reductions implemented earlier this year, to reduce costs for consumers and companies.

Speaking at China's first imports expo in Shanghai, Xi also announced the country would buy US$10 trillion worth of foreign services in the same period.

Exports to the USA jumped 13%, despite higher tariffs. China's exports to the 28-nation European Union in October rose 12 percent over a year ago to $35 billion. American demand for Chinese goods should weaken next year as tariff hikes bite, said ING's Pang. "So export growth data will continue to be stronger than in previous holiday seasons". China's crude oil imports in October rose to all-time high as private refiners rushed to stock up ahead of winter, while demand for copper and iron ore was also solid though down from September levels.

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