Largest Chinese exports fall seen in three years

Largest Chinese exports fall seen in three years

Exports dropped 20.7 percent in February from the same month a year earlier, the largest decline in three years and much bigger than the 4.8 percent fall forecast by analysts. Sparked in part by China's trade war with the US and a slowing global economy, February's exports were worse than expected.

Both exports and imports should pick up somewhat later this year, said Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Group AG in Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, the 6th of March 2019, the US Commerce Department had said that there had been a 12.4 percent jump in the deficit in last December, which had potentially contributed to a record $891.3 billion trade deficit over the last month of the final quarter in 2018.

The never-ending saga of US-China trade talks trudged on this week, again dominated by one theme: uncertainty.

But they noted that export momentum on a three-month basis has moderated significantly since the third quarter a year ago and said "growth is likely to remain soft in the near future".

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) yesterday said that the two sides had made "significant progress" recently and blasted hawks in Washington who have advocated a "decoupling" between the two countries' economies.

The White House is planning a summit between Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Florida later this year.

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China and the USA are reported to be close to an accord that would end their nine-month trade dispute after progress in the negotiations led Washington to delay raising punitive tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, originally scheduled to take effect from the start of this month. After averaging the first two months data to smooth the holiday fluctuations, shipments still dropped nearly 5 percent. During the talks Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer enjoyed take out food, he said.

Imports from Japan sank 19.3 percent in February compared with a month earlier, Chinese customs data showed.

For the first two months of the year, crude imports were 10.8 percent higher than for the same period last year.

Washington and Beijing previous year exchanged punitive tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade but have recently indicated they are close to coming to terms.

The country's global trade surplus was USD43.7 billion.

While growing hopes of a deal have underpinned global markets in recent weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Chinese officials would not commit to a presidential summit until the two countries have a firm deal in hand.

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