China's June exports jump, surplus with United States at record high

20180706-China-US-trade-chart-NEW

China's commerce ministry confirmed last month that Chinese exporters were front-loading exports to the U.S. to get ahead of expected tariffs - a situation that could exacerbate any slowdown in shipments toward the year end.

China's trade imbalance is at the heart of US President Donald Trump's anger at what he describes as Beijing's unfair trade practices that are hurting American companies and destroying jobs.

The US economy is far less reliant on trade than most other major countries, but there will be an impact from the higher costs of imports.

Over the first six months of the year the surplus climbed to $133.8 billion as total two-way trade continued to expand despite the face-off. "Trade wars are not easy to win", he said. That leaves about $80 billion for penalty tariffs after Beijing's previous increases either imposed or threatened on a total of $50 billion of US goods are counted.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as United States tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Capital Economics analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard said in a statement.

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Growth in imports for June showed a moderate slowdown from May, official data showed on Friday. So far, encouraged by strong job growth and expectations of good quarterly earnings reports, U.S. markets have been strong and the Australian market has reached a 10-year record high.

As the world's largest exporter, China has threatened retaliatory action against the tariffs and pledged that it would lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization.

Investors fear a prolonged trade battle with the United States could harm business confidence and investment, disrupting global supply chains and harming growth in China and the rest of the world.

"Not only will Chinese exporters suffer but American consumers as well", she told the BBC.

The new tariffs would kick in within 60 days.

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Imports grew 14.1 percent in June, customs said, missing analysts' forecast of a 20.8 percent growth, and compared with a 26 percent rise in May.

"We expect the trade numbers for July to disappoint since that's when the first round of United States tariffs took effect", said Amy Zhuang, China analyst at Nordea Bank in Singapore.

In a sign Beijing is seeking alternative supplies of the commodities as it hit U.S. imports with extra tariffs, China had dropped import tariffs on a range of animal feed ingredients from several Asian countries.

However, analysts said the June figures were a sign that exporters rushed to beat the initial tranche of tariffs, which came into effect in the first week of July.

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