Cross-strait trade picked up in 2017: Chinese customs

Donald Trump will soon decide whether to slap tariffs on imported solar panels

Arrivals of coal, which include lignite, reached 22.74 million tonnes last month, up from 22.05 million tonnes in November, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday.

SIA Energy's Tee said the 770,000 bpd increases in last year's imports exceeded his forecasts, suggesting China's domestic fuel demand may be stronger than official data showed.

Gas imports hit a new annual record, smashing the previous high by 20 percent, on the back of a massive gasification drive that gained momentum late in the year as temperatures in northern China dropped. Russian Federation estimated in 2016 that the annual trade flows between the two world powers were at $66.1 billion.

"Downside risks remain, in particular from more forceful USA trade restrictions on Chinese exports", Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics said in a report.

As North Korea's biggest trading partner and main source of aid, China holds influence over the pariah state.

During his November visit to Beijing, the two countries announced more than $250 billion in business deals providing some salve to Trump?s fixation on trade.

The International Monetary Fund is forecasting 2017 economic growth, due to be reported next week, at just under 6.8 percent.

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The "continued strength of China's exports to the US ... is bound to add to U.S".

USA data show that the deficit in goods trade with China was already $347 billion in 2016.

Chinese private enterprises played a bigger role in trade previous year, edging up 0.4 percentage points in its share of total trade compared with that in 2016.

Trump will have opportunities to impose tariffs on a range of Chinese goods.

"We have since long expected China's domestic demand and imports to slow in 2018 on gradually tighter monetary and financial policies and slower real estate activity", Kuijs said. For the full year, it was $127.2 billion.

Trade growth faces pressure for the first quarter of this year as surveys showed falling confidence and new orders in December, according to the customs authority. That could mean softening demand for imports as Chinese businesses and consumers tighten their belts.

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