China ex­ports weaken ahead of US trade talks

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - Stay connected - BY JOE MCDON­ALD

China’s ex­port growth sank in Novem­ber as global de­mand weak­ened, ad­ding to pres­sure on Bei­jing ahead of trade talks with Washington.

Ex­ports rose 5.4 per­cent over a year ago to $227.4 bil­lion, a marked de­cline from the pre­vi­ous month’s 12.6 per­cent in­crease, cus­toms data showed Satur­day. Im­ports rose 3 per­cent to $182.7 bil­lion, a sharp drop from Oc­to­ber’s 20.3 per­cent surge.

That adds to signs a slow­down in the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy is deep­en­ing as Chi­nese lead­ers pre­pare for ne­go­ti­a­tions with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over Bei­jing’s tech­nol­ogy pol­icy and other is­sues.

Chi­nese ex­ports to the United States rose by a rel­a­tively ro­bust 12.9 per­cent over a year ago to $46.2 bil­lion. Ship­ments to the U.S. mar­ket have held up as ex­porters rush to fill or­ders be­fore ad­di­tional duty in­creases, but fore­cast­ers say that ef­fect will fade in early 2019.

Im­ports of Amer­i­can goods rose 5 per­cent to $10.7 bil­lion, down from the pre­vi­ous month’s 8.5 per­cent growth. China’s po­lit­i­cally volatile trade sur­plus with the United States widened to a record $35.5 bil­lion.

Trump agreed dur­ing a Dec. 1 meeting with this Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Xi Jin­ping, to post­pone tariff hikes by 90 days while the two sides ne­go­ti­ate. But penal­ties of up to 25 per­cent im­posed ear­lier by both sides on bil­lions of dol­lars of each other’s goods still are in ef­fect.

The Chi­nese econ­omy grew by a rel­a­tively strong 6.5 per­cent over a year ear­lier in the quar­ter end­ing in Septem­ber. But that was boosted by gov­ern­ment spend­ing on pub­lic works con­struc­tion that helped to mask a slow­down in other parts of the econ­omy.

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