China April exports jump 12.9%, imports up 21.5%, beat forecasts

Posted May 09, 2018

Imports surged 21.5% from a year earlier, compared with a 14.4% increase in March.

Consequently, the trade surplus totalled USD28.8 billion in April, above the expected level of USD27.75 billion.

USA officials traveled to Beijing last week for talks with their Chinese counterparts to resolve the issue but made little progress.

Beijing and Washington are trying to avoid a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

China is now embroiled in a months-long brawl with the USA over trade.

The Chinese government issued a new batch of fuel export quotas totalling 19.33 million tonnes for 2018 under the general trade category, with market participants expecting Beijing to keep the total amount of grants this year largely flat from last year at around 43 million tonnes. President Donald Trump's demands that China slash its surplus with the USA have become a cornerstone of his combative economic policy.

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"China's top economic advisor, the Vice Premier, will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the President's economic team", said Sanders who emphasized the "great relationship" between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"We are working on something that we think will be great for everybody", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday without giving further details on the negotiations.

The negotiations could head off the threatened USA tariffs targeting $150 billion in imports, while China has warned $50 billion in goods are in the firing line.

Trade discussions between China and the USA have intensified as Trump has targeted the trade imbalance between the two countries and insufficient intellectual property protections in China. That compared with 39.17 million tonnes in April a year ago.

That news comes against the backdrop of intensive conversations between President Donald Trump's administration and Beijing about trade issues, including a demand from the American side to close the trade gap between the two countries. The high-level meetings are "constructive moves in the right direction" to resolve the tensions, she said.

Economists at ANZ said some Chinese exporters might be accelerating electronics shipments amid the tariff threats. China's communist leaders have countered by outlining $50 billion in US goods that they would target with retaliatory duties on goods including aircraft and soybeans.

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