China and the United State’s 2018 trade surplus rose to a record $323.3 billion although the exports had declined in December as the delayed impact of President Trump’s tariff hikes finally started to affect the demands. Despite this, China announced, earlier last week, that its 2018 trade surplus with Washington was its largest in over a decade. China’s surplus with the U.S. grew almost 17 percent since last year to a record high $323.32 billion in 2018, according to government data, highest on record since 2006.
Exports to the United States rose about 11.3 percent in 2018 to $478.4 billion in spite of Trump’s crushing duties in a fight against Chinese technology; customs data revealed last Monday. Meanwhile, imports of American goods rose by a meagre 0.7 percent, a reflection of Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs in a bid to encourage the importers to bring in more raw materials from non-U.S. suppliers.
China’s total trade surplus for 2018 was $351.76 billion stated the government. Exports throughout 2018 rose by 9.9 percent as compared to 2017 while imports grew a staggering15.8 percent over the same time period which was evident by the official dollar-denominated data. While its surplus with the U.S. rose, last year’s overall Chinese trade surplus was the lowest ever since 2013, although the export growth was the highest since 2011.
China’s General Administration of Customs admitted last Monday that the biggest concern in trade in the upcoming year was the external uncertainty, reports and estimates indicating that the country’s trade growth may go down in 2019. As, Asia’s largest economy, China is still growing steadily, but it faces external headwinds, said the customs spokesman Li Kuiwen at a scheduled briefing to the media.
Both sides are actively trying to negotiate a deal, with the latest round of talks between the officials of the two giants having concluded last week. China’s Commerce Ministry stated last week, that the talks were extensive and they established a foundation for the resolution of each others’ concerns.
“With global growth set to cool further this year, exports will remain weak even if China can clinch a trade deal that rows back Trump’s tariffs,” Evans-Pritchard declared on Monday. “Meanwhile, with policy easing unlikely to put a floor beneath domestic economic activity until the second half of this year, import growth is likely to remain subdued,” he added.
Several companies have moved production of goods meant for the United States out of China to avoid President Trump’s tariffs, others are siding with non-Chinese suppliers of components. December’s trade contraction is likely due to continue into 2019 because of falling foreign demand, including demand for Chinese-made electronic products, a report revealed. It has been noted recently that Chinese imports of higher or more advanced tech declined 14.9 percent in December which was almost double the size of the fall in overall trade.
All being said and done, the economic data from China is being closely watched by economists all across the globe for signs of damage inflicted by the trade war between Washinton and Beijing.