Shipments to the whole world in United States dollar terms rose 5.4 per cent in November, the customs administration said Saturday, missing estimates.
The customs data showed that annual growth for exports to all of China's major partners slowed significantly.
While at the conclusion of Saturday's working dinner, both the US and Chinese delegations said that what amounted to a trade war "truce" between the leaders had been reached, the messaging from the White House that followed seemed to only muddy the waters.
China's trade surplus with the USA rose to a new high of US$35.5 billion last month as businesses raced to prepare for a threatened increase in tariffs over the new year.
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Ahead of his attendance at former President George H.W. Bush's state funeral Wednesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express optimism about the state of trade negotiations with China following Tuesday's stock market plunge.
But growth of exports and imports slowed from October, with exports rising 5.4 per cent for November on-year, short of the 9.4 per cent forecast by Bloomberg News, and imports rising 3.0 per cent on-year, also below the forecast.
Shipments of Chinese goods on an earlier US tariff list targeting $50 billion of products have already weakened sharply, but that has been offset by a rush of shipments on a later list affecting the $200 billion, according to analysts from Capital Economics.
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, 2018. Imports of iron ore fell for a second time, reflecting waning restocking demand at steel-mills as profit margins narrow. November's China numbers might add a sense of urgency.
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For trade with all countries, China's surplus was US$44.74 billion for November, compared with forecasts of US$34 billion and October's surplus of US$34.02 billion.
Also, the Chinese yuan has weakened more than 5 percent against the dollar so far this year, helping to make Chinese products more competitive overseas.
Economists in recent months have penciled in a deterioration in China's export outlook in 2019, factoring in higher U.S. tariffs on a wider range of Chinese goods. Government support measures have yet to boost business sentiment and offset the effects of waning domestic and global demand.
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