China’s total exports grew by 5.4% year-on-year to $227.4 billion, down from 15.5% in October and falling short of market expectations of 10%, official figures show. Imports grew by just 3% y/y to $182.7 billion, plunging from 20.8% growth in October and well under the market forecast of 14.5%. This yielded an overall trade surplus of $44.75 billion.
China’s trade balance with the US has remained robust despite the ongoing trade war. China’s bilateral trade surplus rose to a record high of $35.6 billion, mainly due to a 25% y/y contraction in imports from the US, which accelerated sharply from the 1.8% cut posted in October. This was the third straight month of negative import growth from the US.
Exports to the US, meanwhile, overcame the tariffs so far imposed by the White House to grow by 9.8% y/y, albeit at a weaker pace than October’s 13.2%. Exports are likely to have been buoyed by front-loading effects, though evidence from freight rates from China-US bound cargo suggests that this is also tapering off.