Economy

China exports shock regardless of US tariffs

China exports shock regardless of US tariffs”

Exports rose 15.6 percent last month from a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, picking up pace from September's 14.5 percent.

While the monthly surplus has eased somewhat to $31.78 billion in October from a record $34.13 billion in September, it remains elevated by historical trends.

Dollar-denominated imports meanwhile rose 21.4 percent from a year ago, topping an expected 14 percent. Economists and Chinese government officials said recently that they expected export growth to slow in the final months of the year.

China and the United States are locked in a trade war, but you wouldn't know it from looking at Chinese exports.

With the export outlook clouded by USA tariffs and China's economy expanding at the weakest pace since the global financial crisis, policymakers in Beijing have recently turned their focus to growth boosting measures, including increasing export tax rebates and pledging more support to private firms.

"We believe front-loading activity continued in October and will extend into the last two months of 2018 as exporters hurry their shipments in anticipation of higher tariff rates in 2019", Nomura said.

But analysts said robust export readings will not last much longer, noting Chinese factory surveys have been showing contracting export orders for months.

The determined development that saw no USA seaborne exports of crude oil to China in August, has continued into September.

"We expect this trend to continue in the coming years, supported by the trade conflict with the United States and reduction in Chinese import tariffs". Chinese exports to the United States rose 13.2 per cent, but imports from the USA fell 1.8 per cent as the higher tariffs imposed by China have put off local importers.

Pang said "front-loading behaviour" is likely to continue because this month's planned meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump in Argentine is unlikely to yield positive results.

Trump has railed against China over intellectual property theft, entry barriers to U.S. businesses and its persistently large trade surplus with the United States.

Economists at ING said the data show Chinese exporters are trying to beat a USA tariff increase planned for January. "We are not particularly optimistic on China export growth in 2019".

Speaking at China's first imports expo in Shanghai, Xi also announced the country would buy US$10 trillion worth of foreign services in the same period. China had cut import taxes on more goods, including machinery, from November 1, on top of reductions implemented earlier this year, to reduce costs for consumers and companies.



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