China defies Trump tariffs, trade surplus soars

Trump's willingness to antagonize the world triggers China India rapprochement

September exports rose 14.5 percent from a year earlier, the fastest pace since February, the customs data showed.

"Exports continued to defy United States tariffs last month but imports struggled in the face of cooling domestic demand", said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.

She cited a jump in exports of electrical machinery - the biggest export item from China to the USA - as a sign exporters might have pushed out shipments ahead of implementation of the latest tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports.

In fact, the September surplus with the USA was larger than China's overall trade surplus of $31.69 billion for the month.

The direct impact and indirect influence caused by ongoing trade frictions is "controllable", the General Administration of Customs said Friday, according to a report in the state-run China Daily.

Analysts said last month's strong export growth - which might indicate USA tariffs are not biting much yet - is unlikely to be sustained. -China trade frictions "have been escalating and other instable factors still exist caused by a number of economic uncertainties worldwide", spokesman Li Kuiwen said. Imports of American goods increased 9 percent to $12.6 billion, down from 11.1 percent.

China's September exports rose a solid 14.5 percent from a year earlier, well above expectations despite wider application of US tariffs and signs of shrinking export orders for Chinese companies.

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President Trump has warned China that Washington is taking measures to curb the exporting of nuclear technology to China, adding that Americans were not "stupid", AFP reports as the Department of Energy released yesterday a set of measures "to prevent China's illegal diversion of USA civil nuclear technology for military or other unauthorized purposes".

President Trump added he could do a lot more if he wanted to, but said he would prefer Beijing come to the negotiating table. That prompted suggestions Beijing might weaken the exchange rate to help exporters, but that might hurt China's economy by encouraging an outflow of capital.

The reports were followed by remarks from senior Washington officials that China was the greatest threat to USA democracy and security.

Imports rose 14.3 percent in September, versus a 19.9 percent gain in August, slightly missing analysts' forecast of a 15.0 percent growth.

For trade with all countries, China logged a surplus of $31.69 billion for September, compared with forecasts in a Reuters poll for $19.4 billion and August's surplus of $27.89 billion. Chinese leaders scrapped that deal after Trump's first tariff hikes hit.

Beginning past year, the National Security Council led a review of China's efforts to obtain nuclear material, equipment and advanced technology from USA companies, government officials said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

The International Monetary Fund this week cited the trade war as it lowered its 2019 growth forecast for China, which is set to see its slowest expansion since 1990.

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