Country's global trade surplus falls, but grows with US

A worker watches as cargo trucks move through a shipping port in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province. China reports its trade growth cooled in December 2017 in a sign of weaker global and domestic demand but total exports for 2017 rose 7.9 per

Dollar-denominated import growth, meanwhile, is seen at 13 percent in December against a 17.7 percent growth in November, the economists forecast.

China's exports and imports growth slowed in December after unexpectedly surging in the previous month, adding to signs of ebbing economic growth as the government extends a crackdown on financial risks and factory pollution. "China trade tensions", Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at research firm Oxford Economics, noted on Friday.

China reported a 10.8 percent rise in exports and a 18.7 percent jump in imports - both in yuan terms - for 2017.

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"China's exports may continue to benefit from global recovery this year", said Ding Shuang, chief economist for Greater China and North Asia at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong. 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. For the full year, it was US$127.2 billion.

It will be hard to keep up double-digit trade growth this year given global uncertainties and a high comparison base, Huang said. In the first half of 2017, Zhoushan Port handled 515 million tonnes cargoes, up 11.3 percent year-on-year, and 12.39 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers, up 14.6 percent year-on-year.

China may face a trade deficit within the next five to 10 years as the next phase of the economy's development will require the country to ramp up imports, according to one of China's top economists.

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Of note, particularly from a geopolitical perspective, China's trade surplus with the United States fell to $US25.55 billion from $US27.87 billion in November, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

In November, China stopped exporting oil products to North Korea, after the U.N. Security Council that month imposed new caps on trade with North Korea, including limiting oil product shipments.

Trump has put tackling the growing trade deficit with China and boosting US firms' access to its markets among his top priorities since coming to power.

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