China's trade growth cools in December

TOP NEWS: China Trade Cools As Imports Fall Short But Exports Rise 11%

China's exports and imports both increased for the first time in three years in 2017, official figures showed Friday, but trade tensions with the USA and cooling domestic demand are clouding prospects this year.

Reuters reported last week that China will keep its target for economic growth at "around 6.5 percent" in 2018 -the same as in 2017. His administration has slapped anti-dumping tariffs on a range of Chinese imports, such as aluminum and steel, and toughened its stance on Chinese investment in the U.S.

Exports from the Asian giant for the full year rose 7.9 per cent, the fastest rate since 2013, while imports also gained a sizzling 15.9 per cent - the best since 2011, thanks to insatiable Chinese demand for commodities.

"Export prospects remain solid, given our outlook for growth globally, although more forceful US trade restrictions on China's exports remain a key risk, following another rise in the U.S.' bilateral trade deficit in 2017", he said.

Chinese customs will formally release data for trade with North Korea in the second half of the month, along with a breakdown by product. Iron ore imports for the year hit a record high of 1.075 billion tonnes.

It was the weakest annual growth in imports since December 2016.

TOP NEWS: China Trade Cools As Imports Fall Short But Exports Rise 11%
2017 China Exports, Imports Up for First Time in Three Years

As a result, the trade surplus rose to $54.69 billion in December, while it was forecast to fall to $37.4 billion.

That compares with a 3.7% on-year decline recorded in 2016, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Strength in Chinese exports "is bound to add to US-China trade tensions", Kuijs said.

China's trade surplus with the United States reached $275.8 billion in 2017 and the monthly surplus with the US was $25.6 billion in December.

China's goods surplus with the United States, a sore spot in relations between the two nations, hit a record high of $275.81-billion a year ago - topping the previous record in 2015 of $260.8-billion.

China's excess production capacity has emerged as a major trade irritant for the world's leading economic powers, prompting them to consider new steps to protect domestic industries and jobs from a flood of Chinese imports. China's December trade surplus with the USA was $25.55 billion, compared to $27.87 billion in November.

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