China hopeful on US trade talks

Copper price: Chinese concentrate imports hit monthly record

Copper price: Chinese concentrate imports hit monthly record

China's exports experienced the sharpest decline in three years in February, while imports fell for the third consecutive month. The United States and China have been battling over trade tariffs since previous year.

Imports in the month dropped 19.7 percent from a year earlier to US$15.47 billion, leaving a trade surplus of US$4.93 billion, up US$1.84 billion from a year earlier, the figures show.

Exports were down 4.6 percent to reach 353.21 billion USA dollars, while imports retreated 3.1 percent to 309.51 billion US dollars.

Even if a trade deal is reached, its exporters will have to contend with weakening demand globally, particularly in Europe.

The decline in exports to the U.S. market represented a worsening of last December's 3.5 per cent contraction.

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) yesterday said that the two sides had made "significant progress" recently and blasted hawks in Washington who have advocated a "decoupling" between the two countries' economies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump agreed in December to seek an agreement to address USA concerns and remove all additional tariffs.

China economist Chang Liu of Capital Economics in London told VOA that the drop in Chinese exports is due, at least in part, to the tariffs.

Kudlow told CNBC earlier on Friday that negotiations between US and Chinese officials have been progressing via video-conference and telephone since the last round of face-to-face talks in Washington two weeks ago, when Trump indefinitely extended a tariff truce. Chinese officials are no longer planning for Xi to travel to Florida at the end of the month, the people said.

"China is set to have a hard time on trade, because on the US front there is the trade war, and on the European Union front the economy is really weakening", said Tommy Xie, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Singapore.

Actual growth last year slowed to 6.6 percent, and is expected to cool further to 6.2 percent this year. While a preliminary agreement had been struck between U.S. and Chinese teams during the last round of talks last month, it has not yet received final sign-off by either country's leader. Many analysts expect a rocky first half before a flurry of stimulus measures start to stabilize activity around mid-year.

Imports from Japan sank 19.3 percent in February compared with a month earlier, Chinese customs data showed.

The country's global trade surplus was USD43.7 billion.

Taiwan reported its biggest export drop in over 2-1/2 years on Friday, with shipments to China down 10.4 percent. However, the plunge can also be attributed to declining global demands of some goods.

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