China's trade surplus with US hits record high in 2017 amid rising tensions
13 January, 2018, 05:27
Trade with China is politically sensitive as the world's second-largest economy runs surpluses against many of its trading partners.
The Asian nation's exports last year expanded by 7.9 percent, while imports soared by 15.9 percent for the year.
China's exporters have had a blockbuster year.
"The record high trade surplus is likely to lead to more trade disputes between China and the USA", said Tommy Xie, an economist at Singaporean bank OCBC.
Iron ore demand and steel output are expected to be at 1.12 billion tonnes in 2018 and 838 million tonnes respectively, the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute said last month.
Washington has also launched the procedure for a probe into whether Chinese companies are stealing the intellectual property of USA companies.
Beijing has successfully fended off Trump's campaign rhetoric by making trade concessions, further opening up China's financial markets and signing US$250 billion worth of deals with the United States during the president's Beijing visit in November.
Gao Feng, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, said on Thursday that both countries should manage their differences through dialogue to prevent them from escalating into conflict. US figures put the 2015 deficit with China at $367 billion. That was down 12 percent from November's 9.01 million bpd, the second-highest level on record. Imports grew 4.5% year-on-year in the month to $177.1 billion, slowing from a rise of 17.7% in November and the lowest reading in a year, according to the customs data.
"We do not think that the import slowdown this year is going to be as sharp as suggested by the December data, given that China's policymakers continue to want to see credit and the economy cool gradually rather than fast", he said.
Buying eased in December as refiners and fuel distributors drew on inventories after hefty stockpiling in the previous month, said Seng-Yick Tee, analyst with SIA Energy.
The government is planning to announce GDP data for 2017 next week.
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