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

BEIJING-China's trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $34.1 billion in September as exports to the American market rose by 13 percent over a year earlier despite a worsening tariff war.

September exports rose 14.5 percent from a year earlier, the fastest pace since February, the customs data showed.

The move is part of the wide push from Washington against Beijing, in which the latest episode was the slapping of tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese products.

She cited a jump in exports of electrical machinery - the biggest export item from China to the USA - as a sign exporters might have pushed out shipments ahead of implementation of the latest tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports.

China's trade surplus with the United States grew 10 percent in September from a record $31bn in August, according to China's customs administration - a 22 percent jump from the same month a year ago.

The direct impact and indirect influence caused by ongoing trade frictions is "controllable", the General Administration of Customs said Friday, according to a report in the state-run China Daily.

He also blamed previous US presidents for allowing China to pursue unfair trade practices and said he had to tell Beijing, "It's over". -China trade frictions "have been escalating and other instable factors still exist caused by a number of economic uncertainties worldwide", spokesman Li Kuiwen said.

The officials said United States nuclear exports to China amounted to $170 million in 2017.

Export numbers have been buoyed by producers rushing to fill orders before American tariffs rose, but they also benefit from "robust USA demand" and a weaker Chinese currency, which makes their goods cheaper overseas, said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in a report. Chinese leaders scrapped that deal after Trump's first tariff hikes hit.

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"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", he said.

China's overall trade - what it buys and sells with all countries including the United States - logged a $31.7bn surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

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

Analysts had expected imports to rise 15.0 percent, compared with August's 19.9 percent.

The US tariffs cover a broad range of Chinese consumer goods, while China's were aimed mainly at American liquefied gas, machinery and electric equipment.

To shore up growth, Beijing has pledged to increase export tax rebates from November 1 for the second time this year and promised to cut corporate burden on a larger scale to help struggling Chinese firms.

The IMF has cited the trade war as one of the reasons it lowered its 2019 growth forecast for China, which is set to see its slowest expansion since 1990. It also slashed China's growth forecast for next year to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent.

Imports of American goods increased 9 percent to $12.6bn, down from 11.1 percent.

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