China to 'immediately' implement USA trade truce measures

Dow dives as enthusiasm for Trump's trade truce fades

While at the conclusion of Saturday's working dinner, both the USA and Chinese delegations said that what amounted to a trade war "truce" between the leaders had been reached, the messaging from the White House that followed seemed to only muddy the waters.

On December 6, the USA reported that its trade deficit in October jumped to a 10-year high, and that the deficit with China that last month surged 7.1 percent to a record $43.1 billion.

But China's overall trade last month was worse than expected, with export growth slowing to 5.4 per cent and import growth slowing to 3 per cent.

Import growth was 3 per cent, the slowest since October 2016, and a fraction of the 14.5 per cent seen in the poll.

Xu Jianwei, senior China economist from French bank Natixis, said the bigger fall in imports from 21.4 per cent in October pointed to weakness in domestic demand but higher base number from November a year ago also needed to be taken into account.

China's exports to the U.S. rose by 9.7 per cent year on year to US$46.2 billion in November, while imports dropped 25 per cent to US$10.6 billion, according to data published by the General Administration of Customs in China on Saturday.

Talks during the 90 day period during which President Donald Trump has agreed to suspend US tariff hikes will start by focusing on farm goods, energy and automobiles, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng.

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The new export order component in China's official purchasing managers' index had been contracting since June and barely picked up in November.

Trump and figures in his administration have said China would immediately start buying USA goods in bulk, but Beijing has refrained from confirming those claims.

China's trade surplus with the United States was $35.55 billion in November, a record high and compared with $31.78 billion in the preceding month. Despite those new tariffs, the trade gap with China also widened in October, increasing by $700 million to $38.2 billion.

Jonas Short, head of the Beijing office of brokerage Everbright Sun Hung Kai, said the weaker yuan "should boost industrial exports over the coming months".

Economists in recent months have penciled in a deterioration in China's export outlook in 2019, factoring in higher United States tariffs on a wider range of Chinese goods.

Chinese policymakers are expected to offer more policy support and deliver more support measures if domestic and external conditions continue to deteriorate.

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