China’s Exports, Imports Grow, as Does Trade Surplus With US

A cargo ship is seen at a port in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province on Friday

But analysts said last month's strong export growth - which might indicate United States tariffs are not biting much yet - is unlikely to be sustained.

A cargo ship is seen at a port in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province on Friday.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on almost $200 billion of Chinese imports and then threatened more levies if China retaliated.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast shipments from the world's largest exporter would rise 8.9 percent in September from a year earlier, slowing from 9.8 percent in August.

Washington announced the nuclear technology controls a day after the U.S. Justice Department said it had arrested and indicted a spy for China's Ministry of State Security on charges of economic espionage.

"With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and U.S. tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained".

It was about $196.01 billion in the same period previous year.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in comments published in the Financial Times this week warned China against engaging in competitive currency devaluations.

China's trade surplus with the United States was $225.79 billion from January-September.

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China's export data has been surprisingly resilient to tariffs, possibly as companies ramped up shipments before stiffer US duties go into effect, but factory surveys have shown export orders have been shrinking for several months.

"The front-loading impact is quite obvious to me", said Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ in Hong Kong. This came despite the Trump administration slapping tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in the middle of the month, which prompted Beijing to retaliate with tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods.

"China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development", customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

Trump said the Chinese want to negotiate but he does not believe they are ready and he told them so.

The move comes as the U.S. is waging a trade war against China, with roughly half the products China sells to the United States each year now facing tariffs.

Trump imposed tariffs on almost US$200 billion of Chinese imports last month and then threatened more levies if China retaliated.

Growth in overall imports for September instead showed a moderate slowdown, in line with signs the broad cooling in domestic demand. Analysts had expected imports to rise 15.0 percent, compared with August's 19.9 percent.

Iron ore imports rose to their highest level in four months as steel mills ramped up output ahead of winter production restrictions.

The trade war entered a new level in September, with the USA imposing 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of goods imported from China, effective as of September 24, which could escalate to 25 per cent in January 2019, while China fought back with tiered tariffs from 5 to 10 per cent on US$60 billion of United States goods. An official survey also confirmed a further manufacturing weakening.

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