China trade surplus drops, but not with US

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In dollar terms, exports advanced 10.9 percent year-over-year in December, just above the 10.8 percent rise economists had forecast.

China's exports grew at a faster-than-expected pace in December, data from the General Administration of Customs showed Friday.

That left the country with a trade surplus of $54 billion for the month, the highest since January 2016.

Recently, acting Governor of the Far Eastern region Andrei Tarasenko told Sputnik, that the turnover between Russia's Primorsky Territory and China increased by 14 percent or $2.5 billion over the first nine months of 2017.

China's economy last year performed better than expected, with most economic indicators showing a positive trend at the end of the year. 2017 imports are the highest since 2014.


"The record high trade surplus is likely to lead to more trade disputes between China and the US", said Tommy Xie, an economist at Singaporean bank OCBC.

With the plan to heat millions of homes with the fuel proving over-ambitious, and leading to shortages, there was also a 3.2 percent month-on-month boost in coal imports in December after the government eased restrictions on imports to keep the country warm. China's December trade surplus with the USA was $25.55 billion, compared to $27.87 billion in November.

The "continued strength of China's exports to the USA ... is bound to add to U.S". The investigation, based on the rarely-used Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, could be a precursor to retaliatory US policies such as hefty tariffs on Chinese imports.

ANZ analyst Betty Wang said that even though a broad-based bilateral trade war is "highly unlikely" in 2018, it is possible that the US will take "unilateral actions on Chinese exports in specific sectors". For the full year, it was $127.2 billion. The rate is also a steep fall from November's 17.7 percent. "In contrast, import growth slowed sharply, raising questions over the state of domestic demand", Julian Evans-Pritchard, an analyst with research firm Capital Economics in Singapore, said in a note. That could mean softening demand for imports as Chinese businesses and consumers tighten their belts.

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