China declares Hainan island global free-trade zone
China declares Hainan island global free-trade zone
China's trade surplus with US balloons
15 April, 2018, 00:35
The latest readings on the health of China's trade sector follow weeks of tit-for-tat tariff threats by Washington and Beijing, sparked by USA frustration with China's massive bilateral trade surplus and intellectual property policies, that have fueled fears of a global trade war.
Even as China's trade surplus narrowed overall in the first three months of the year, its surplus with the USA surged 19.4 per cent to $58.25 billion from a year earlier, customs data showed on Friday. Imports rose 14.4 per cent to $179.1 billion, though that was down from 21.7 per cent growth in January and February.
Xi, who now rules the world's second-largest economy without term limits, formally declared the new plans on Friday, Chinese state radio reported.
The blue-chip CSI300 index closed down 0.7 percent at 3,871.14, while the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.7 percent to 3,159.05. The yuan appreciated around 3.7 percent against the USA dollar in the first quarter this year, on top of a 6.6 percent gain last year.
That sent its quarterly trade surplus with the US surging 19.4 percent to $58.25 billion, though the March reading narrowed to $15.43 billion from $20.96 billion in February.
China's overall exports and imports both grew at a strong double-digit clip early in the year, and while exports unexpectedly fell in March - resulting in a rare trade deficit - most analysts chalked it up to seasonal factors and said it was too early to call a trend.
US President Donald Trump has approved a possible tariff hike on US$50 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints that Beijing has been stealing or pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology.
China runs multibillion-dollar monthly surpluses with Europe and the USA, which helps to offset deficits with Japan, South Korea and developing countries that supply industrial components and raw materials.
Xi pledged earlier this week to further open China's economy and cut tariffs this year in a speech in Hainan seen as an attempt to defuse an escalating trade dispute with the United States.
Forecasters have been expecting Chinese economic growth to weaken since late previous year after regulators tightened controls to cool a boom in bank lending and real-estate sales they worry is driving a risky rise in debt.
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