08/08/2017, 15.04
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Slower Chinese imports and exports

imports rose 11 per cent in July on an annual basis, well below the 17.2 per cent recorded in June and the 18 per cent forecast. Exports rose instead by 7.2 per cent, also below expectations. In fact, analysts had forecast a stable growth rate of 11 per cent.

Beijing (AsiaNews Agencies) – China’s international trade growth slowed in July. Both imports and exports growth showed an unexpected downward raising questions about the overall economy.

The country, which is vying with United States for the spot of top economy, saw imports rise by 11 per cent on an annual basis in July to US$ 146.9 billion, the Customs Administration said today.

This is well below the 17.2 per cent increase reported in June and well below expectations by analysts asked by Bloomberg, who had forecast an 18 per cent increase.

Exports too slowed down, albeit less. In July, they rose 7.2 per cent year-on-year to US$ 193.65 billion. This is below expectations of 11 per cent growth.

This slowdown comes after growth accelerated in previous months.

In addition to cooling producer price inflation, the slowdown reflects softer trade volumes, this according to Capital Economics China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard.

“Despite the uptick at the end of [the second quarter], trade growth now appears to be on a downward trend," he explained.

The sharp decline in import growth since the beginning of the year suggests domestic decline is softening, he added.

Beijing’s tighter monetary policy to reduce the huge debts of Chinese companies weighted even more on imports in the second half of 2017.

The continued growth of imports seems “to have peaked and is rolling over," said Callum Henderson, a managing director for Asia-Pacific at Eurasia, cited by Bloomberg.

However, other experts are more cautious.

Despite the slowdown in trade growth momentum, China's exports and imports were still registering strong expansion on a year-on-year basis, said Rajiv Biswas, IHS Markit's chief economist for Asia Pacific, because of strong demand at home and among China’s main trading partners, i.e. the United States and the Euro Zone.

Thus, the trade surplus widened to US$ 46.7 billion in July, up from us$ 42.7 billion the previous month, according to Chinese Customs.

The surplus against the US dropped to US$ 22 billion from US$ 24.5 billion a year earlier.

Biswas said trade tensions between the United States and China have eased after the Chinese cooperated on North Korea.

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