China's 2017 trade boost shows shifting engines of growth

Lester Mason
January 13, 2018

China reports its trade growth cooled in December in a sign of weaker global and domestic demand, but last year's total exports rose 7.9 percent over 2016 while imports were up 15.9 percent.

China's foreign trade volume rose 14.2 percent year on year to 27.79 trillion yuan (4.28 trillion US dollars), ending the previous continuous drop of the previous two years, official data showed Friday.

Specifically, China's exports to Taiwan were valued at 297.9 billion yuan in 2017, while its imports were 1.05 trillion yuan, an annual growth of 12.2 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively, the data indicated.

Chinese trade has been unexpectedly strong in the face of forecasts that economic growth will cool as Beijing tightens controls on credit to slow a rise in debt.

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 trade surplus continued to narrow previous year, shrinking 14.2 percent to 2.9 trillion yuan, compared with a 9.1-percent reduction in 2016 that saw 3.35 trillion yuan in trade surplus.

Imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent year-on-year to $54.34 million, Chinese customs spokesman Huang Songping said in a briefing in Beijing on Friday.


"We have long since expected China's domestic demand and imports to slow in 2018 on gradually tighter monetary and financial policies, and slower real estate activity", Kuijs said. His administration has slapped anti-dumping tariffs on a range of Chinese imports, such as aluminum and steel, and toughened its stance on Chinese investment in the U.S.

Commodities imports were mixed, with copper purchases down 8.2 per cent year-on-year by volume in December while coal and natural gas imports were up. "A major uncertainty is potential China-US trade frictions".

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

The "continued strength of China's exports to the U.S.is bound to add to U.S".

China's excess production capacity has emerged as a major trade irritant for the world's leading economic powers, prompting them to consider new steps to protect domestic industries and jobs from a flood of Chinese imports.

Trump has put tackling the growing trade deficit with China and boosting US firms' access to its markets among his top priorities since coming to power.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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