Monday, January 14, 2019
China December trade data bad, but likely to get worse this year, analysts surprised by unexpected December drop in Chinese exports and imports.
China's export and import figures were much worse than expected in December, underscoring the rapid weakening of the Chinese economy. Monday's figures suggest the negative impact of the trade war may be greater than Chinese authorities previously estimated.
While overall Chinese exports last year were the largest in seven years and the trade surplus with the US reached a record high, boosted by strong gains in the first half of the year and the effects of order front-loading in the second half, trade results this year could be quite different.
In December, total exports fell to US$221.25 billion, down 1.4 per cent from November and 4.4 per cent from the same month in 2017, according to data from China's General Administration of Customs. The December figures give the first indication of the full impact of the US-China trade war.
Exports in previous months were supported by "front-loading" of orders by Chinese producers to beat the planned rise in US tariffs to 25 per cent. Total imports fell to US$164.19 billion in December, a drop of 10 per cent from last month and down 7.6 per cent a year earlier.
The drop in imports is another bad sign for the Chinese economic outlook, indicating a rapid weakening of Chinese domestic demand.
Analysts expect the worst is yet to come for the Chinese economy, especially in the first half of this year, due in part to sagging demand from its domestic market.
Last week, officials from the world's two largest economies held three days of talks to try to agree to a trade deal to avoid a rise in US tariffs from March 2.
While negotiators said the talks went well, they offered few details indicating how much progress they had made.
Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.