China's trade surplus with U.S. swells in June

20180706-China-US-trade-chart-NEW

Beijing announced Friday that China's surplus with the United States hit an all-time high of $28.97 billion (€24.85 billion) in June, with exports reaching a record $42.62 billion in June.

Thus far, China has imposed retaliatory tariffs on $34 billion-worth of US imports, targeting politically sensitive goods such as soybeans.

Analysts also pointed out that Chinese export growth slowed to 11.3% year on year in June, from 12.2% in May, illustrating that exporters, faced with the threat of further trade barriers, were becoming more circumspect in sending goods overseas. China's exports to the USA jumped by 13.6% in the first half of 2018 from a year earlier, while its imports from the U.S. rose 11.8% in the same period. That leaves about $80 billion for penalty tariffs after Beijing's previous increases either imposed or threatened on a total of $50 billion of USA goods are counted.

Analysts expect shipments growth to slow in the second half of the year, putting more strain on an economy already feeling the pinch from a multi-year debt battle that has driven up corporate borrowing costs.

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China's trade surplus widened sharply amid escalating trade tensions with the USA, which is preparing to impose fresh tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese goods.

China's commerce ministry confirmed last month that Chinese exporters were front-loading shipments to the USA to get ahead of expected tariffs - a situation that could exacerbate any slowdown in shipments toward the year-end.

The commerce ministry also said this week it will use funds collected from tariffs charged on imports from the U.S.to help ease the impact of USA trade actions on Chinese companies and their employees. China's trade surplus with the U.S. over the same period was $133.76 billion, up from $117.51 billion previous year.

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David Kuo, chief executive of the Motley Fool Singapore, said "US tariffs will increase the cost of Chinese imports but they are unlikely to deter United States consumers entirely".

Companies worry the spiralling dispute might dampen global trade and economic growth.

But, he said, China has another option - Beijing could reduce the impact of U.S. tariffs on exporters by devaluing the yuan to make its goods cheaper for American consumers. So far, encouraged by strong job growth and expectations of good quarterly earnings reports, United States markets have been strong and the Australian market has reached a 10-year record high.

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