China Trade Data Defies US Tariffs

China's October exports surprisingly strong

China's exports rose 15.6 per cent last month from a year earlier, data showed yesterday, picking up from September's 14.5 per cent and beating analysts' forecasts for a modest slowdown to 11 per cent. September exports grew 14.5 percent year-on-year.

Imports also beat expectations, jumping to 21.4 per cent, up from 14.3 per cent in September and well above the Bloomberg median forecast of 14.5 per cent.

For the seventh month in a row, total U.S. crude oil exports, excluding to china, hit a new all-time high reaching 7.9 mill tonnes in September.

Chinese exports to the U.S. rose 13.2 per cent, but imports from the USA fell 1.8 per cent as the higher tariffs imposed by China have put off local importers. "It's an excuse to not do anything (to solve the problem, and) rather to frame this as part of the big trade war".

"The trade war between the United States and China is now impacting trade in both tariffed and some un-tariffed goods with both countries looking elsewhere for alternative buyers and sellers".

Chinese exports to the US also grew in September at a rate of 13% year over year.

October marked the first full month of United States tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods - but the tax rate is set to jump from 10 percent to 25 percent come January. Imports from the United States contracted by 1.8% last month as Chinese buyers switched from the USA as a major source for soybeans and a source for oil imports and LNG. That was significantly higher than analysts had forecast and even stronger than last month's growth.

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The PMI, which gives a snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing sector, dipped to 50.2 in October - just above the dividing line of 50 between expansion and contraction.

"There is still a lot of uncertainty about the trade friction between China and the USA", said Liu.

US import volumes began soaring this summer, and data continue to show no signs of a slowdown in trade flows from China to the U.S.

"We expect exports to remain strong towards the end of the year as businesses are afraid of a failure in the Trump-Xi meeting, which could lead to broader tariffs on more Chinese goods from the U.S.", Pang said.

Trump is due to discuss trade with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires later this month, but experts are doubtful the two leaders will be able to agree on a swift resolution to the conflict.

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.

But analysts said these measures would only be effective if rolled out quickly.

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